Even the best customer-focused companies get angry customers sometimes. Maybe you did something wrong, maybe you didn’t. Either way, in order to win back your unhappy customer, you’re going to need to do something pretty special to make it up to them.

Here’s 5 things you can do to win back angry customers….

1. Accept responsibility

The first thing you need to do is accept responsibility. You don’t think the problem was your fault? Well sadly, it was. It was your fault for choosing an unreliable courier to deliver your product. It was your fault for not spotting a software bug that caused your customer to be billed twice.

Steve Corona first decided to accept responsibility for his failures during a hang gliding accident he had when he was 21…

“You can’t blame anyone but yourself, and how can you possibly hold a grudge at you? It’s easier to forgive yourself than it is to forgive others. When you take responsibility for all of the outcomes, only then can you also take responsibility for your success.”

Your customer support advisors need to accept responsibility and apologise for any problems on behalf of the company.

“Support champions are often required to act like lightning rods: to take the brunt of an emotional, angry customer despite the fact that it is not their fault.
” – Gregory Ciotti, HelpScout

Let angry customers express their frustration and don’t give excuses. Emphasise with them and be sincere when you say you’re sorry they’ve had a bad experience.

2. Go the extra, extra mile

Nothing is more frustrating than spending half an hour on the phone to customer service and then being told they can’t solve your problem. They apologise over and over again but without a solution the apology sounds completely hollow.

We’ve all heard those stories of amazing customer service like the Netflix support agent who brightened a frustrated customer’s day by engaging in some Star Trek inspired role play.

Allowing your customer service team to go off-script and personally go the extra mile will put a smile on your customer’s face, even if you’re the reason they’re angry in the first place.

3. Reach out

Sometimes, angry customers are going to take to social media to complain. How many times have you seen friends and acquaintances Tweet or post Facebook statuses about a poor customer experience?

Research by Maritz and Evolve24 found that 83% of angry customers who received a reply to their complaint on Twitter liked or loved hearing from the company, and almost 3 out of 4 were satisfied with the reply.

Keep your eye out for dissatisfied customers on social networks and reach out to them. Instead of just asking them to wait around on hold for your support team, why not ask for their phone number and offer to call them when they’ve got a free moment?

4. Be generous

If you gave a full refund every time a courier didn’t deliver on time, you’d probably be out of business pretty quickly.

However, if a customer problem is truly the fault of you or one of your team, you should be as generous as you can afford to be to make it up to them.

Zappos, who have built their entire business around great customer service, often offer $50 coupons to fix their mistakes.

5. Follow up

To show customers you really care, why not follow up with them a short while after resolving their issue?

“Everything up to this point will be for naught if the customer feels that ‘out of sight is out of mind.’” – Rosa Say, author of Managing with Aloha

A couple of weeks after an issue has been resolved, try emailing or calling your customer, apologise again for their bad experience and make sure the issue was completely resolved.


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