Best Way to Handle Upset Customers? Show Genuine Empathy

Improving customer interactions in handling customer complaints serves companies well. The number one way to win over an upset customer?

Use empathy.

What empathy is and isn’t

Customers want someone to genuinely listen to them and understand their perspective. Empathy is the perfect way to do this. Notice I didn’t say sympathy. That can suck you in emotionally and cloud your judgment and resolution skills. Empathy is defined as “the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.”

Customer satisfaction levels increase based on how companies handle customer complaints. A problem or issue does not define the staff or the company. How the company handles the issue DOES define them. Customer complaints often stem from the customer not feeling understood. They feel they are being treated like a number or a widget, not like a real person with real frustrations when issues arise.

Feelings of alienation set in when customers don’t feel listened to. Using the statements “It’s our policy to…” or “It’s not our policy to do that.” damage customer relationships.

Ultimately, customers take their business to competitors that have made customer relationships a top priority.

Showing empathy is crucial to customer relationships.

In order to resolve issues and keep your customers, respond to issues quickly with empathy. Your customers want to feel validated in their frustrations. When a product does not function properly or a commitment was not met, listen to the customer and their frustrations. Assure the customer their frustration is understood.

Next, resolve the issue in the best interest of the customer. Upgrade them to the next product level to make up for inconvenience and time involved. Express ship or deliver them a new product at no expense. Perform the service again and make sure that the original issues are taken care of.

Or, the ultimate loyalty builder, purchase the service or product from one of your competitors and deliver it to your customers at no charge. What better way to exceed the customer’s expectations than by doing right by your customer – no matter what. Putting the customer’s best interest first delights and earns loyalty.

Customers whose issues were well handled will be stronger proponents of your business than those who were satisfied and had no complaints in the first place.

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