Handling Calls from Disgruntled Customers

April 18, 2019
Communication expert Kimberly Pope shares her top tips to turning an upset caller into a returning customer.

Calls to your shop from disgruntled customers can be difficult to know how to navigate.

In an effort to resolve a customer’s issue and leave them feeling like they are willing to return, many factors come into play.  

Communications expert Kimberly Pope, the founder of The Pope Institute for Polish, Poise, and Etiquette, breaks down her tips on handling phone calls from disgruntled customers. Pope has worked with people and businesses of all types.  

BE PATIENT 

Pope’s first, and biggest tip to navigating a phone call with an upset customer is to “exercise patience.”

“Sometimes a disgruntled customer just wants to be heard,” says Pope. “They may already know that you can't really do anything to solve the situation at the time—whether it’s a part that needs to come in, or they can't get an appointment—the person just wants to be heard.”

REPEAT KEY POINTS 

She then suggests taking notes and repeating back to the customer what you think you heard them say. This shows the customers that you were listening. 

“Make sure that while being patient, you are still actively listening and offering ways you can try and help,” says Pope.

UNDERPROMISE, THEN OVERDELIVER 

But Pope emphasizes the importance of not overpromising to customers.

“Customers can see through that (overpromising), or when you're trying to get them off the phone without really being helpful,” she explains.

Instead, try to find ways to help the disgruntled customer, even if it is a referral elsewhere. It’s about finding creative ways to be helpful, says Pope; and it all starts with having patience.

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