7 Strategies to Handle Irate Clients

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. -Bill Gates

Organsations exist to provide solutions to needs people have. In the provision of goods or services, something can go wrong and may make a client be irate.  People are likely to talk to so many other people informing them about poor service or product than they would in the event of good service. What would happen when you have irate clients?

Here are some strategies for dealing with irate customers:

1.Remember there is Power in a Name
When handling an irate client call them by their name.  Addressing your client with “I’m sorry ma’am,” for example, sounds a lot more formal—and much less sincere—than “I’m so sorry, Mary.” Once you use a name, you’re suddenly speaking with a real person. A client who has a job and a life and a legitimate reason behind his or her frustration, rather than a faceless “ma’am.”
2.Smile When You Talk
When talking to the client smile when he speaks because it will help you be calm and friendly. It also helps your voice convey friendliness and openness.
3.Start with FUD
Before moving to resolve the issue apply the FUD method. Find out what caused the client to be Frustrated, Upset, and Disappointed. It will be helpful if they can explain their experience and rate how much they felt each emotion (a little, moderately, or a lot) along the way. To help calm them, you might say, “That sounds frustrating. How upset were you at that point?”
4.Have them tell their experience
When clients recognize that their emotions are heard and mean something to the person they’re communicating with — they will start to become rational again. That’s when they’re more likely to share the facts and not just their feelings. Request them to tell their story like this, “What happened from when things were going right to when something went wrong?”
5.Take notes
Clients will more likely share their stories in a realistic, rational way if they know they’re being “recorded,” so to speak. Taking notes serves two purposes in this case: It allows you to keep a solid account of what clients share, and it reminds clients to slow down and get their facts straight.

You could put it like this: “This is important for me to get exactly what you have said right, and I don’t want to miss anything. So I’m taking notes. Then I’ll read them back to you to make sure I understood what you said.”

6.Adopt: FDT or TDF
Clients will feel understood if you ask clarifying questions to match their emotional state at this point. For those who are still a little upset — and, as a result, confusing — during or after sharing their stories, ask clarifying questions in the FDT (Feel, Do, Think) sequence. For example: How did you feel when …? What did you (or we) do then …? What do you think now? These more open-ended questions allow them to express more emotions they may still need to get out of their system — and can help clarify what happened.

For calm and logical clients, ask clarifying questions in the TDF (Think, Do, Feel) sequence. For instance, Do you think …? When did you (or we) do when …? Do you feel that …? These close-ended questions allow you to move closer to a resolution now that emotions have been hashed out.

7.Use the mind’s eye tactic
Talking to a dissatisfied client can never be easy, and by using these techniques to put your clients at ease and show them that you want to help, you’ll get to a resolution much quicker.

Say, “In your mind’s eye, what can I do now to make this better for you?” Just hearing “make it better” can help them move from a feeling of “It’s so bad” to “It’ll be better.”

Once you have uncovered the clients’ reasons behind their emotions and defused the situation, use the mind’s eye tactic to help clients start to think about how the situation can and will get better.

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