What Can Angry Customers Tell Us?
By Guest Blogger, Jeannie Walters
It takes a lot for most people to get angry. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, and some people are just hot heads. But most of us don’t go around yelling at people for fun.
So what does it tell us when a customer gets so angry he or she is yelling at a representative of your company? Or TYPING IN ALL CAPS in the comment box after rating the “Did we help you?” question with a 1 on your survey.
It means they are fed up, quite literally, with trying so hard. No matter what your business, customers expect it to be easy to do business with you. They expect you to be nice. They expect you to be reasonable.
Angry customers are using words about how they are feeling. They are selecting words like frustrated and insulted and disrespected because those expectations of how it should be have been shattered. They have tried the reasonable ways to get attention to their concern, and they have felt neglected, ignored or just plain beat up by the time they express themselves so fiercely.
Angry customers tell you a few things.
1. They tell you what processes need to be examined.
Ok, maybe it’s reasonable to have a 30-Day Return Policy, but if you are seeing lots of angry feedback, it means something is wrong with the policy or how it’s being executed. Maybe it’s the fine print on the receipt or the way the 30 days starts at the moment the product is ordered but not delivered. Maybe the return process is painful instead of being as easy as the purchase process.
Or maybe it’s an arbitrary process that needs to die. Is it there to help or hurt the customer? What would happen if it were extended? Start asking questions and see if there are ways to dial down the anger in the future.
2. They tell you when your employees are not supported.
Employees are mentioned by name in both good and bad feedback from customers. They have a direct impact on the customer experience like few others. If there are cycles of anger, whether it’s a cycle of timing or product launches or when a certain manager runs the call center, there are employees in those comments.
Think of these employees mentioned in angry comments as the ones asking for your help. They might need a better shift or more training or they may simply be the wrong fit. If you see angry comments about specific employees, start looking at what cycles may need to be adjusted and what employees need from you.
3. They tell you when your communication stinks.
When an angry customer uses the word “misleading,” it’s time to pay attention. What this means is they feel duped and hurt. They thought they understood the agreement but now find out they didn’t. This is most likely due to communication that is more brand-focused than customer-focused.
Take a look at what was communicated. How was it misinterpreted or misread? What did they miss? Did the customer not read the whole agreement? Well maybe that’s because it’s way too long. What can you do to make it easier to understand?
Angry customers are easy to dismiss. We call them “crazies” or “complainers.” But they are telling us so much, if we’re just willing to listen.