Weathering the Storm of an Angry Client

BY Rachel Cagle
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It’s happened. One of your clients is upset. Maybe they are upset because of a mistake you made or perhaps the situation was completely out of your control. Does it really matter now? The client doesn’t think so. All they care about is how you’re going to fix it. How adept you are at weathering the storm is going to determine whether your client will decide to continue giving you their business after this situation is wrapped up. According to CustomerThink writer Steve DiGioia, here are a few solid methods you can use to win over an upset client.

Tactics of Weathering the Storm

Be Available

First off, weathering the storm means that you need to make sure your client can easily get ahold of you. If you are difficult to reach or aren’t actively responding to your client's outreach attempts, your client will quickly escalate from upset to absolutely livid because they will feel as if they are being ignored, especially at a critical time such as this. Learning about the problem is the first step to weathering the storm of anger and fixing whatever has gone wrong. You need to be able to learn about the problem from your client as quickly as possible in order to solve it in a timely manner. Then, open communication during the fixing process can help soothe an angry client. Keep them up to speed on the steps you're taking to solve this crisis that directly apply to the progression of a fix. Finally, you should immediate reach out to the client once the problem is solved. This will give the client less time to stew on the negative events of the day. Don’t keep your client guessing about whether you are fixing the problem or what you are doing. Tell them outright.

The Importance of Venting

Always let your client vent to you. Chances are, their frustrations about the situation will take the form of words. Possibly harsh ones. Directed at you. Instead of throwing up your mental shields and partially zoning out to weather the storm, actually listen to what the client has to say to you. Along with all the hurtful words, they may actually be telling you exactly how to get back into their good graces. If you aren't listening, you'll never know. And worse, if you get caught ignoring the client, you will make them even more angry at you.

Say Thank You

Thank them. At the end of all of this, there will be a number of things to thank the client for. One, that they reached out to you with their problems instead of trying to fix everything themselves. Two, for being patient with you during the fixing process. Three, that they still trust you with their business. A lot of salespeople will make excuses and then try to sweep the problem under the rug as soon as it’s solved. Don’t. Own up to the error and show that you recognize the value of your client’s business and the second chance they are giving you.