5 Common Complainers and How to Deal With Them
The customer is always right or thats what a lot of corporate core values say. It is hard to maintain that mentality when you have an angry, frustrated, or screaming client yelling through the phone or degrading you via email. No matter the magnitude of the complaint – whether the company royally screwed up or forgot to send the free samples, customers can and will complain. However annoying and inconvenient this can be, these instances are actually good for the company and your staff if you use those opportunities as training tools for resolving issues. Missy Ward of Affiliate Summit, Inc. has identified five common angry customer personas and effective ways in which to handle them.
The Passive Complainer
This type of complainer doesn’t want to spend time on the phone or speaking to a customer service representative. Sometimes you will never hear from them at all, they will just stop using your service or buying your product. Others may go to social media or the company website and announce their dissatisfaction with the company, but still never actually approach the company directly with the issue. If the customer does take to publicly expressing their discontent, do not ignore. Instead, respond. Use this opportunity to resolve it by apologizing via the same medium (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and offer to fix the problem immediately.
The Steam Blower
Just as the name suggests, these are complainers who want to blow off steam. They may also be the ones who complain repeatedly and will call in for just about anything. Due to the recurring calls, make notes in the client’s file or system so that no matter who they talk to, their history is documented and can be referenced if needed. Luckily, these customers are usually satisfied easily. Be patient, listen carefully, and make sure you offer ways to resolve the situation.
We’ve all dealt with these customers before. They aren’t reluctant to voice their issues to anyone who will listen, who unfortunately is usually the first person who answers the phone. Sorry receptionists, the customers do not care if you aren’t the right person to speak to. Be careful, their anger can escalate quickly, and they will want quick resolution and a compensation of some kind. Respond rapidly and effectively. However tempting it may be, do not use aggression back at them or show indifference. Keep your response positive and reassure them that the issue is being handled.
The Problem Solver
Of the complainer personas, the Problem Solvers are the easiest to deal with and are more beneficial to your company. They just want to fix the problem and move on. They are usually upfront and direct in what the issue is and what they feel the solution would be. However, they do not want an easy fix. Use this opportunity to evaluate the problem and resolve any inefficiencies identified by the customer. This will hopefully prevent future complaints.
The Entitled Customer
These are the customers who feel that if they are inconvenienced, no matter how big or small, they should be compensated in some way. They tend to repeat the same demand; no matter what response they receive. Ward recommends training your staff to know all the available solutions and be firm in their responses. You can definitely end up going around in a circle with this customer, so be matter-of-fact when giving solutions.
So the next time a customer calls in or sends an email complaining, understand what type of complainer you are dealing with, and respond appropriately. It may mean the difference between losing them and earning their lifelong loyalty.
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