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A small business blog featuring tips to help entrepreneurs succeed in the small business world. Topics include family business, human resources, marketing, money, networking, operations, ownership, startup, taxes and technology.
Tips for Dealing with Calls from Upset Clients

Unfortunately we can’t please everyone and many times those who are unhappy in any way want to express it. I know because not only do I receive the calls, but sometimes I make them when I feel the customer service I received is lacking in some way.

So, what should you do when you’re on the receiving end of a call from an upset or irate client? There are many tactics to keep in mind, and though some may should cheesy, they can be very helpful in making the call end positively.

• First and foremost, listen and take notes. If you have to relay the situation to someone else, it’s important that you don’t get any of the information wrong.

• Stay positive, both in your tone and in your head. Thinking that the caller is being ridiculous will translate into your tone and will definitely not help the situation.

• Don’t talk down to or berate the client – always remember that their complaints are important to them and you should express an understanding of that.

• Do not take their complaint personally or become defensive. If you do you’re opening the opportunity for the conversation to quickly escalate to a bad one.

• Do not interrupt to defend yourself or the business. Only interrupt to detour the conversation back to a positive level if the client’s emotions begin to escalate.

• Express empathy to the client’s situation. Put yourself in their shoes and try and see their perspective. Not only will it make them feel better, but it will help you to discover the best solution to the problem.

• Take responsibility for your actions and apologize assertively when you personally have made a mistake (do not apologize for other employees, because that is admitting their fault in the situation when you’re probably only getting selective facts and perspective).

• Thank the client for sharing his concerns with you and try to find a solution you can both agree on, even if that means talking it over with other staff members and calling the client back with options.

There are always exceptions, but sticking to these simple guidelines will help you to turn the conversation with upset clients in a productive direction that will hopefully guide you to a resolution that everyone is happy with.

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By Michelle Cramer
Thursday, February 14th, 2019 @ 12:00 AM CDT

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