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What To Do With Angry Clients

Mar 27, 2008
Why is your client so angry when it truly was not your fault? And how do you handle such a situation?

Do you figure there is no pleasing some people, or do you attempt to unravel where the point of no return took place?

Something went terribly astray. Your first step toward redemption is to apologize, whether your fault or not, just apologize. It is a tough lesson to learn but this action works well.

The second step is to quietly listen to the client rant and rave, even foam at the mouth, until they are exhausted in every sense. It takes a strong stomach to sit through this at times but it helps to know the positive outcome is around the corner.

Once your client has finished verbally assaulting you and your company, two things will occur. You will both realize there is nothing left to be said, and your client will realize you are the only person who cared enough to listen as to what went wrong. Your client will begin to regard you differently.

It is now your cue to ask,If I look into resolving this issue, will you be willing to give me an opportunity? Now they may look at you skeptically and say, No one else apparently thought they could fix it or they would have offered. What makes you think you can?

This is your opportunity to differentiate yourself from everyone else. Tell your client that you care, you deliver on service and will examine what went wrong and attempt to fix it, only if they will allow you to do so.

Promise to report back on your findings whether negative or positive. Deliver on your promise in a timely manner. Your angry client will become very grateful, particularly if you are able to fix what went wrong.

Once you have become proficient at fixing problems and if you are working at a company with a filling cabinet filled with dead files, ask permission to review these. You have just found yourself a gold mine!

One by one call each dead-file company by stating you are aware that once upon a time they did business with your company but something must have gone wrong because they are no longer clients. Explain you are new at the company and specialize in excellent service. Ask for permission to set a date to talk about what occurred in the past, what needs to be done to fix the relationship and work on a satisfactory solution for everyone involved.

Understand you will not get 100% of the dead file companies to say yes to your proposition, but you will get some who are willing, and this is far better than cold calling. Although they are angry, it is a warm call because you reached out to them and they are obviously willing to work with you.

My Story:
My favorite example is of a legal copying service that was so angry with my company they did not want to meet. Upon my encouragement and stating that I would walk away if I could not resolve the issues, my client (whom I had never met before) agreed to meet with me.

Upon entering the offices, he angrily pointed to a large piece of equipment and said in a not so nice voice, This has not worked since the day it arrived.

I laughed and responded. That is fabulous news!
He looked at me as if I were crazy.

I continued, That is not ours, it belongs to our competitor. Show me your next problem.

My client continued pointing to machinery that was not ours. I finally asked about his invoicing challenge which also failed at the very beginning. It turned out that it was my client who had inverted serial numbers and so the billing was never right. This issue was entirely his fault.

If I had not taken the time to meet with this client, I would never have had the opportunity to completely turn the situation around and open the door for future business.

It is important to note that if you have the ability to turn your angry client into a happy client, you are very likely to generate an even greater stream of income. The reason is the client will be so appreciative that you took the time to resolve their issue, they will tell their associates and friends, You will not believe what this person did for me, and will relay all of your virtues.

You will achieve repeat business, referrals and testimonials all at the same time - our definition of a Smooth Sale!
About the Author
Elinor Stutz, CEO of Smooth Sale, LLC and author of Nice Girls DO Get the Sale trains others on her proven relationship selling techniques through services and products. Her book sells worldwide. Services include training, coaching, and speaking. Her products suit all learning styles. She writes for Diversity Edge Magazine.

Visit Smooth Sale or call 800-704-1499.
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