When you’re running your own company, you’re almost always the face of all it’s operations. When something goes wrong (or the customer believes it has), you’re the fool who has to deal with it.
Unfortunately, sometimes a person can take “the customer is always right” too far, and you end up faced with a furious, rude, or – in the worst case scenario – aggressive customer. It’s always going to be a shock, and it’s never going to be easy to deal with.
We’ve put together a few guidelines that will hopefully help you keep a level head while you smooth the situation over.
Customer Service is Key
While it might seem obvious, make sure that you deal with every order and every customer promptly and professionally. If you’ve done everything straight from the get-go, they will likely have not become furious. In the event of something slipping through the cracks, make sure you contact them immediately to apologise. Offer to include a small gift with their purchase if you can, or perhaps expedited shipping. Is is rare that an honest and sincere apology with efforts to rectify the situation doesn’t put a stop to conflict.
Usually, you have all the info pertaining to an order readily available to you, and the tools at your disposal to let the customer know exactly what’s happening and when. Your order notifications, communications between you and the customer, and receipts from shipping will provide a complete, clear picture of events. The Hello Pretty order management dashboard also allows you to set the order status as you move through the stages of fulfilling it, and include messages to the customer if you wish. Should there be any complaints, you will have a detailed record of what happened when, and what information was passed on to the customer.
Keep it Professional
People tend to forget that there’s a human being on the other end of a phone line, or behind an email. This, coupled with most people’s automatic defensiveness when they feel they’ve been wronged somehow, can result in a communication breakdown. Try to remember also that many South Africans are new to online shopping and nervous of being somehow ripped-off. It’s tempting to retaliate in kind, but remember that for your sake and your brand’s, you should take the high road. If they have a problem, address it directly and politely, and, if relevant, include a list of previous updates you supplied them with.
We know – easier said than done! However, this is possibly the most important point when dealing with an aggressive customer. If you respond to their aggression, the situation is likely to escalate. Even if they threaten you with legal action or reporting you to any number of bodies, do not respond with any threats of your own. This not only justifies their attitude, it also puts you in a poor situation should a third party need to get involved. If you’re in the wrong, apologise and try smooth things over immediately (see Point 1). If not, stick to the facts and try not to let your emotions control your response.
We’re Here to Help
Sometimes, people are pushing because they hope that aggression will get them their way/a freebie, or have just worked themselves up into a state and won’t back down. Please don’t let things get terrible; we are here to help. If you feel that a customer has crossed a line, or that they’re being unreasonable, or are trying to threaten you with reporting you, you’re welcome to contact us, or to tell them to contact us. We take this sort of thing very seriously, and you guys are important to us as are the buyers and we do our best to make sure everyone is left satisfied.