Is the person that people see at work a good and accurate
representation of who you really are? Would people be shocked to know
what you're really like when you're not at work? Do you feel enthused
when you answer the question: What do you do? For people who love their
jobs, their work is an extension of who they are and what they stand
for. If you're in the wrong job however, it may say nothing about you
as a person and merely be a means to paying the bills. Begin to work
towards a job that is the perfect fit to your personality.
Too many people, when faced with clients
who range from dissatisfied to downright angry, choose the loser's path
by postponing handling the situation. Worse yet, they handle it
inappropriately. Postponement doesn't make the problem go away. It
results in one of two things happening. Either the angry client decides
the problem isn't worth the aggravation and cools down. Or, the client
gets so angry that the next time you hear from him or her is through
some sort of official (and possibly legal) letter. Worse yet, you'll
see your company named on the local news channel in one of those
consumer protection segments.
If you're the business owner, you may
think it's ok to lose one client who's unhappy, but it's not. You see
when we have a good experience with a company, we tend to tell 3 other
people about it. Positive word-of-mouth is great for business. However,
someone who is displeased with a situation tells, on average, 11
people about it. Can you see how your business could be hurt by that?
And, there's an even bigger risk, if you are a small businessperson or
sole proprietor. You may learn more about your client's anger through
Naturally, no one wants to walk into a
lion's den and face the angry client. However, you must consider the
value of this client to you, your reputation, and the company. In most
cases, I would guess that it will be worth your while to face that
angry customer and get the situation resolved as quickly as possible.
I'd like to give you nine steps I've
developed for facing and dispelling another person's anger. They work
well in most situations mainly because you're giving the client the
attention their dissatisfaction deserves.
1. Acknowledge the other person's anger quickly.
Nothing adds more fuel to a fire than having his or her anger ignored
or belittled. The faster you verbally recognize their anger, the
2. Make it plain that you're concerned.
Tell them you realize just how angry they are. Let them know that you
are taking the situation seriously. Make notes of every possible
detail they give you.
3. Don't hurry them.
Be patient. Let them get it all out. Never try to interrupt or shut
them up. In many cases, the best move is to simply listen. They'll wind
themselves down eventually. In some cases, they'll realize they blew
the situation out of proportion and feel foolish for it. They are then
likely to accept nearly any solution you offer.
4. Keep calm.
Most angry people say things they don't really mean. Learn to let
those things pass and take them up after you've solved the present
challenge -- only if you feel it's necessary to do so.
5. Ask questions.
Your aim is to discover the specific things that you can do to
correct the problem. Try to get specific information about the
difficulties the problem has caused, rather than a general venting of
6. Get them talking about solutions.
This is where you will learn just how reasonable this client is. By
the time you get to this step, their anger should have cooled enough to
discuss the challenge rationally. If it hasn't tell them you want to
schedule a later meeting, even if it's in an hour, to come up with some
reasonable solutions. Let them do the rest of their fuming on their
7. Agree on a solution.
After you know exactly what the challenge is, you're in a position to
look for some kind of action that will relieve the challenge. Propose
something specific. Start with whatever will bring them the best and
quickest relief. Don't get into a controversy over pennies at this time.
8. Agree on a schedule.
Once you've agreed on a solution, set up a schedule for its
accomplishment. Agree to a realistic time frame that you know you can
handle. The biggest mistake you can make is to agree to something that
cannot be done. If you do, you'd better be ready to face another bout
of this person's anger when you don't come through.
9. Meet your schedule.
Once you've satisfied the client with
regard to this situation, you will have earned another opportunity to
serve their needs in the future...and the needs of those they'll tell
about how well you handled it.
Give this schedule top priority. You've talked yourself into a second
chance with this client, so make sure you don't blow it.