How to Deal with Angry Customers

How to Deal with Angry Customers

by Nicholas Tart on November 23, 2011 · 55 comments

Have you ever had a crazy customer?

If you haven’t, it’s only a matter of time. And if you know how to deal with an angry customer, you can dramatically change how they feel about you and your business.

Today I want to show you a very angry customer email I received last year and how I made him extraordinarily happy.

Reasonable Customer Email, 8:11

Reasonable Customer EmailEugene ordered a book on November 7th, 2010. Immediately after placing his order he received an automated email. Then I sent him a personal email the next day confirming his address. He replied with his adjusted address on the 11th. So I shipped the book on November 13th and he received another automated email.

In total, he received three emails up to this point.

He sent me that email five days after I shipped his book. Mind you, the book was headed to Iraq.

Angry Customer Email, 8:17

Angry Customer EmailNeither the font size nor color has been adjusted from the original email ;). Let’s call it, Big Red.

Six minutes after the first email, he sent me that beauty.

Initial Response Email, 8:42

Initial Response EmailI replied 25 minutes after receiving Big Red. Anytime you get an email like that, it’s important to handle it immediately.

Instead of apologizing, because I did nothing wrong, I offered to send him a free copy of the eBook. Actions always mean more than words.

Customer Response Email, 8:55

Angry Customer Response EmailEugene promptly responded 13 minutes after my email with an appreciative email of his own.

Promise Follow Through Email, 9:07

Promise Follow Through EmailLess than an hour after receiving Big Red, I sent him a free copy of the eBook with a more in-depth explanation of what went wrong.

Final Thank You Email, 3 Days Later

Final Thank You EmailUnbeknownst to Eugene, I personalized and signed the book I sent him five days prior to receiving Big Red.

I’ve exchanged a few more emails with Eugene since this incident and I think it’s safe to say he’s a happy customer.

Angry Customer Lessons

Here are a few lessons to take away as far as dealing with angry customers.

  • Respond immediately with an honest explanation.
  • Offer to make things right even if you did nothing wrong.
  • Follow-up to make sure they’re happy.

Oftentimes your angriest customers become your most happy customers if you respond well to their concerns.

Do you have any angry customer stories?

Post image by: tricky

{ 50 comments }

Daniel November 23, 2011 at 7:33 am

Nice, as always, article

Nicholas Tart November 24, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Thanks, Daniel! Still working on those questions ;).

Daniel November 28, 2011 at 4:14 pm

How does questions going. :) :( ;0

Nicholas Tart November 28, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Hmm… I answered them a few days ago and thought it sent. But I must’ve just saved it as a draft. Anyway, your email has been sent!

Asad Ur Rehman November 23, 2011 at 11:01 am

Nice Article…

Thanks for sharing with us….

Nicholas Tart November 24, 2011 at 7:49 pm

You’re welcome, Asad. What did you learn from it?

Buntu Redempter November 23, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Thank you Nick, I found this very true!

Nicholas Tart November 24, 2011 at 7:50 pm

I’m glad, Buntu! Still waiting for you to find something you disagree with me about.

Daniel November 24, 2011 at 9:56 am

Happy thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!

Nicholas Tart November 24, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Happy Thanksgiving!

King Sidharth November 25, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Love it when haters turn lovers :D

Nicholas Tart November 25, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Yeah, I heard some statistics sometime ago that said unhappy customers usually become more happy than your happy customers if you respond to their unhappiness… Happy to see ya, King!

Daniel November 26, 2011 at 11:03 am

Hi I’m Daniel, Wow! aren’t you one of the 50 interviewees? Anyways, I agree.

Extreme John November 27, 2011 at 2:03 am

There are different kinds of customers and it’s common to encounter people can sometimes get into our nerves. That’s why it is so much important to learn and know how to deal with angry customers. I really thank you for sharing this kind of information to everyone.

Nicholas Tart November 27, 2011 at 2:31 pm

I don’t ever let customers get on my nerves, John. Sometimes the situation can be frustrating. But customers like this are more amusing than anything else. Plus, I like Eugene. Other than Big Red, he was very reasonable and appreciative.

Daniel November 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

What I try to keep in mind with customers that tick me off is that I’m doing whatever for the $$$$. And so far, that thinking hasn’t failed me yet.

Daniel November 28, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Btw, Nick, for Christmas, I’m asking my family for a Paypal account, a domain, vending machines, Donald Trump’s newest book (Time to get tough), and an iPad 2. Wish me luck. ;)

Nicholas Tart November 28, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Vending machines?

Daniel November 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Why not start a vending business?

Nicholas Tart November 29, 2011 at 4:23 pm

That’s a great business to start. Just making sure that’s why you wanted one ;).

Daniel November 29, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Got your email

Daniel November 29, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Why do you keep winking?

Nicholas Tart November 30, 2011 at 12:52 am

Not sure. Partially habitual. Partially to communicate that you have the inside track ;).

Daniel November 30, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Okay than. ;) ;) ;)

Daniel November 29, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Wait, which tablet do you think I should get*:

Samsung Galaxy tab 10.1
Apple iPad 2
Wait for iPad 3
HP touchpad

*google the different tablets if you don’t recognize them

Nicholas Tart November 30, 2011 at 12:54 am

I’m not the person to ask about tablets, Daniel. Generally Apple products are easier to use while others are overall better products.

Daniel December 1, 2011 at 3:02 pm

I just learned that your link leads to your service Monument Marketing.

Daniel December 1, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Hey Nick, reading Tony Hsieh’s (Zappos’ CEO) new book, “Delivering Happiness”, right now. It’s a really good book so far. You should check it out. Click on link above for a sneak peek!

Nicholas Tart December 2, 2011 at 11:42 am

Hey Daniel… That one’s on my list. Hoping to get to it early next year.

Daniel December 3, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Got a wordpress account!

Daniel December 3, 2011 at 2:12 pm

How do you get the picture icon?

Nicholas Tart December 3, 2011 at 8:26 pm

It’s a gravatar: http://en.gravatar.com/

Daniel December 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Check out my gravatar!

Daniel December 5, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Hey Nick, some reason my comment disappeared some where on juniorbiz.com, so I’m also posting that comment on here. I found this national entrepreneur competition. Something called NFTE (pronounced “nifty”). Turns out I just missed their deadline by about a month. I’ll try again next year. Who knows, maybe I will use your green gym equipment idea. Maybe I might win the $10000 prize. You should have a entrepreneurial contest!

BTW: Merry Christmas, do you want any thing special?

Nicholas Tart December 6, 2011 at 1:02 am

Hey Daniel! Yeah, NFTE is a great organization. I may or may not be working on that. And I may or may not have signed a non-disclosure agreement about it earlier today.

Daniel December 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Do you mean like, about the entrepreneur competition?

Daniel December 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Because if you had an entrepreneur competition, consider me already signed up ;)

Nicholas Tart December 7, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I’ll be sure to let the organization that I may or may not have signed an NDA with know that there’s demand.

Daniel December 7, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Hey Nick, I need help with funding. Any comments?

Nicholas Tart December 8, 2011 at 11:24 am

Yeah, why do you think you need funding? How can you start without it?

Dorcas Solomon December 21, 2011 at 11:06 am

Great Article Nich

CosmoLove May 11, 2012 at 9:41 am

Im never going to leave this site Nick. It’s so addictive. I can’t thank you enough. I’ll read up and apply! Pray for me!

Nicholas Tart June 11, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Haha… You’re wonderful, CosmoLove. Make sure you focus on the the application. Otherwise, I can’t truly help you.

Anna Brown June 11, 2012 at 7:36 am

An interesting read, thanks! Wow but you’re patient though, I mean there are unhappy customers and then there are complete wallies…But l can see it is important to be nice to even them haha you have a good attitude I must say!

Nicholas Tart June 11, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Wallies, eh?! You must be from the UK, Anna. There’s a Bill Gates quote that says, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

Matthew White July 10, 2012 at 3:50 am

Nick,
I believe your thoughts are spot on.
I too have needed to handle several unsatisfied customers. Although in my line of work, they are also grieving at the time. They are preparing a funeral. There has not been one customer who has walked away upset, but on the contrary leaving with some piece of mind that this part of the process was completely smoothly and beautifully.

This is for Funeral Program Templates, and some customers have had difficulty downloading the templates and asking for a refund. There was a reason they purchased the template in the first place, they liked it and thought it would serve them well. So the first step is making sure that we can get this done for them easily.

After completing this step via phone and or email, I’ve offered additional services such as the customization for photo restoration free of charge for their troubles. This has always proved to make my customers very happy. Although they might not be repeat customers, since we most likely do not plan to prepare many funerals, I am sure that they would recommend my products and services to anyone they know in need.

Thanks for the article.

Nicholas Tart July 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm

I couldn’t imagine all the different ways you’d learn to help customers in that business, Matthew. Oh, I see what you mean by templates. That’s pretty cool. Haven’t seen that before.

Matthew White July 11, 2012 at 7:00 am

The templates come in very useful for customers, as it takes away the need to try and come up with something on their own, and most people are not graphic designers. It just makes sense for people to choose something that suits their needs, and all they need to do is fill in the blanks.

A funeral home called me today as well, and is interested in many of my products for their clients. This is the ultimate goal in the end, after all of my services are in place, unfortunately, this takes more time and money. Nonetheless, it will get there.

Nick, I’d be happy to write a guest post for your blog if this is of interest to you.

Nicholas Tart July 14, 2012 at 12:05 am

I like your entrepreneurial spirit, Matthew. Send me an email with a few guest post topics (nick@14clicks.com) that you feel you’re qualified to write and would benefit the audience here.

Matthew White July 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Thanks Nick
I’ll get back to shortly with those topics.

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