Destination Directory

5 Steps for Handling Upset Customers

Improving customer service requires the fine art of working with frustrated customers. We've all had them. We all know the principle that if you can successfully turn around an upset customer, they'll be more loyal to your company than if they never had an issue at all.

But in the heat of the moment, what is the best way to connect with frustrated customers to calm them down so that you can help them? Here are five steps for success:

  1. Agree with them. You aren't agreeing that they are RIGHT, you are only agreeing that it is a frustrating situation. Suggestion: "You're right! That's sounds so frustrating."

  2. Apologize. It's obvious, but many people miss this one. "I'm so sorry the (situation/product/service) isn't what you thought it would be."

  3. Empathize. Easily the MOST important step. "I would be frustrated too. This is not how we want any of our customers to feel. Please let me help you."


  4. Offer options. Offer two options for the customer to choose from. This will give them the feeling that they now have some say and control in the resolution. Be sure they feel comfortable with the option they select. "Do you feel comfortable with this? It's important to me that you feel good about working with us."

  5. Follow up. After a few days, the next time you work with that customer, or whatever time period makes logical sense based on your business and relationship with the client, circle back and ask how the situation is now. Ask if they are happy with the solution to the issue and if there is anything else that can be done to help them. This is a critical step that most companies just don't do.

By following each of these steps, you let your customer know that you truly do value their business and the experience you deliver.

Written by Kristina Evey, an expert and trainer in showing businesses of all sizes how to become more profitable by delivering memorable customer experiences. Click here for more easy-to-use strategies from Kristina.

Photo: Markus Spiske /



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