How to Deal with Angry Customers on Live Chat

Customers get rude or angry for various reasons. However, if you are in business to serve your customers, you may face different challenges and need to learn how to deal with angry customers. The way you respond can make the difference between the customer who will get the resolution or the one, who will never deal with you and leave a negative feedback. 

Surveys reveal that as many as 77% of customers won’t make a purchase on a website if there’s no live chat option available. Thus in modern eCommerce world live chat has become an essential part of any website. However, dealing with angry customers on live chat differs from assisting them over phone or email. You cannot remove what you have written and have no time to think everything over like while composing an email. In this blog post I would like to share tips that will help you to cope with tense situations on live chat and resolve them to everyone’s satisfaction.

Listen to your customers and let them vent

Without clear understanding of the issue, there is no need to move forward and try to resolve anything. This will only make things worse. Angry customers want to be heard. Allow them to air their grievances. Here are a few phrases you can use:

  • “Please tell me more about the issue….”
  • “Could you clarify the following….”
  • “Just to make sure I understand everything…”
  • “Thank you for reaching out. I am here to assist you and will do my best to sort things out”
  • “Jerry, thank you for detailed issue description, let me quickly check the information you provided”
  • “I would feel the same, could you provide more details about….”

In such situations never leave your customers waiting. During chat conversation it is important to let your customers know that you are working on their issues:

  • “Please hold on for a while, I need some time to investigate the issue….”
  • “Would you mind holding while I am checking the details you provided?”
  • “Tony, I will escalate your issue to our manager to ensure this will not happen again in future. We will keep you updated by email.”

If you need more time to investigate the issue or transfer your customer to a different department, explain this carefully and ensure they will not need to repeat everything from the very beginning. Luckily, live chat conversations can be stored and everyone involved in issue solving will have access to the most detailed description.

  • “Let me invite my co-worker Daniel from tech support department to our chat. He will assist you with technical issues. Daniel will see our conversation and will check the details you provided.”
  • “I’d need to discuss this situation with our manager. Can I follow up by email regarding this issue? The information you provided in chat will be attached to the ticket #[TICKET NUMBER].”

Ask questions to calm down

Defense is the standard response to anger. However, there is no sense in arguing with a person who is fuming. They will not hear you. It’s hardly possible to change the mind of your angry customers. On the contrary, they will feel they are not understood or taken seriously. Instead, the main priority should be to calm your angry customer down. You can achieve this with help of questioning. Additionally, you need to show that you value each complaint:

  • “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. It could have passed unnoticed and bothered other customers as well.”
  • “We appreciate your feedback, it will help us to improve our products.”

Apologize gracefully

It does not matter whether your customer’s complaint is reasonable or not. If you want to retain them as customers you need to express an apology for the problem they are having. Even if this is not your company’s fault.

  • “I am really sorry you feel like that. Let us see what we can do to make things better.”
  • “I understand that you are upset, let me recommend…”
  • “Please accept our sincere apologies for that issue. We will do our best to solve it as soon as possible.”

Analyze post chat surveys

Let your customers leave a review of their experience after each chat conversation. This will help to find out whether their issues have been resolved or require further escalation. Post chat survey is the best way not only to measure your customer service team success but also to let your customers leave their feedback and let you know if their issues have been resolved.

Over to you

It is important to keep in mind that live chat allows multitasking. Handling several chat conversations at the same time is a normal practice for any live chat agent. However, angry customers don’t like waiting and start fuming if they feel you do not pay enough attention to their issues. Whenever you have a conversation with such a customer, switch your operator console to “away” mode if possible and solve the issue.

If you have experience of dealing with angry customers on live chat, you are welcome to share it in comments to this blog post.

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