How to Help a Dissatisfied Customer
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How to Help a Dissatisfied Customer

Agitated customers need special help from customer service representatives. If the CSR is able to smooth over a problem they will likely get a customer for life.

The free speech environment has created a radical different way for people to communicate with each other.  Where it used to be that people would consistently try to speak to each other using a civil tone, the new anger that has arisen in the United States and across the globe has created a sense of entitlement in individuals that has circumvented civility for the more easy anger and offensive tone.

If you work in a customer service role, whether it is in retail, service, or support, there is the likelihood that a dissatisfied customer who does not have the civility switch turned on will call you on the phone or approach you in public.  A few tips may help you to get through the ordeal and possibly help the customer to change their tone as well.

Empathy, not Sympathy

The customer is angry for some reason.  You telling the person that you understand will likely not relieve the tension that he feels.  Instead, try empathy.  Instead of saying you understand, tell the customer that you feel his or her pain.  Not in so many words, but, for example, if the customer has just purchased an item, unboxed it, and half of it was missing, you can relieve a little bit of their frustration by telling them that you have had the same thing happen.

Help the Customer

It does not matter if you are responsible for the frustration that the customer feels.  it is your responsibility, by default, to make things right.  Regardless of your authority to help the customer with his problem, you know who can help him.  Instead of redirecting the customer to that party, you do the legwork for the customer.  This goes a long way toward calming the turbulence that is welling up inside of the client.  If he knows that someone is on his side and will try to cut through the red tape, it will help him feel better.

Red Tape is Tightly Binding

The customer has likely already made all the phone calls and written all the emails that he wants to.  He is now in person, looking for solutions and resolutions and you are the first person he has encountered.  If you have no answer for this customer he will begin to feel helpless and more frustrated than he did when he was on the phone.  For a customer who fits this category, the very last thing you should ever tell him is that you cannot help him and that he should visit another department or make a phone call.

If you do find yourself with this customer you should take him to a telephone, dial a number to the department he needs to talk to and then talk for the customer.  He has likely already given you enough information to convey to the managers who can help him.  In no way should you ever just leave a customer hanging.


Customers can be your best friend or the deepest thorn in your side.  It is really up to the customer service representative to help the customer be happy and someone the CSR would enjoy meeting on the street or in their establishment in the future.  Knowing that a frustrated customer can become your very best customer if you can help them with their concerns.  Even if you are not the one who can help them, by giving them the proper attention you can win them over for life.  

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Comments (5)

Good Job - Shared

Great article!

This is a helpful article for people on both sides of the fence, both the customer and the seller.

Nice tips.

I agree with you that customer management has become a tedious task nowadays.