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casualtySo you’ve dealt with your crisis or angry customer. You’ve followed our tips for dealing with crises and dealing with angry customers. You’ve apologized. So what do you do afterwards?

We’ve already warned about the dangers of creating too many rules based on a traumatizing outage. But if you had angry customers, it’s worth taking a look at how you could have made them less angry.

Assess why they were angry

Obviously if there were any bugs then you probably reported them already. But there’s a difference between a customer finding a bug and a customer being angry about it. What drove them to be so frustrated? User experience in the product? Was the support process itself frustrating? Or were they just having a bad day?

Figure out if you can improve processes

If there were elements of your support process that frustrated the user, look at how they can be improved. Was language used that pushed the wrong button for them? Did it seem like your agent didn’t care about their issue (even if they did)? This isn’t a blame game; it’s about figuring out which tactics work and which don’t.

Figure out if you can improve the user experience

Often a customer is frustrated because something didn’t work as expected. If it’s not a bug, some customer support teams will just forget it. But as I mentioned in my essay about error messages (and how they’re screwing Square), it’s your job to pass UX issues on to the product team as well. If it was really hard for a customer to find the settings section, that’s something that should be addressed just as much as a bug should.

Give your agent a breather

Dealing with an angry customer can be exhausting and frustrating. Don’t make your support agent dive right back into the fray. Give them a different task to calm their nerves, like improving your documentation or sending out gift packages to customers. Otherwise you risk them burning out or lashing out at customers.

It’s tough to deal with an angry customer, so make the most of it and learn + improve all you can. And then pour yourself a drink; you deserve it.

Bandaid kid photo courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives

Photo courtesy of Chris Turner.

Evan Hamilton

About Evan Hamilton