Running a services business means you’re going to have angry customers to deal with sometimes. Most of the time the issue doesn’t arise until after you’ve issued the invoice. In this Master Series, you’re going to learn 5 killer tips on how to turn around angry customers. You’ll also learn how to refund invoices if the situation can’t be turned around.

So, you’ve just part completed some work and you’ve just got a mail from the customer saying something along the lines of ‘Sorry Pete, but this isn’t what I asked for. I don’t think this is working can you please do an Invoice Refund and we’ll just call it a day’. Of course, doing an invoice refund only takes a minute but you’ve just lost all that time and money. Worse still, you’ve got an angry customer who’s now turned into your worst marketing machine – that’s why you need to flip them. You might be thinking the invoice refund is the worst part of this fall out, but an angry mouthy customer is worse.

The key actions you’re going to try and do here is calm the customer, turn them and learn what you can do better.

1) Listen

The very first thing is let them rant at you. Just switch off; they’re angry. Whether they’re right or wrong, it doesn’t really matter at the moment. They want to let some steam off and if you try and argue back at them is like you’re plugging that pressure cooker. They’ll just want to argue back harder and harder. So the smart thing to do is listen until they run out of words – you’ll hear it in their voice it, will become less defensive.


2) Apologise

The next thing you should do is say you’re sorry. This will instantly make them feel understood, and that your empathising with them. Remember, usually the things that people get tetchy about are never really the issue. So a simple apology creates a great starting point to turning them around.


3) Empathise

Now we’re going to empathise with the customer. This will make the customer defuse even move. Don’t get sucked into the attack; remember it’s usually never about you. You’ve let them talk, you’ve apologised and now you’re going to say how you can understand how they must feel. You don’t have to take responsibility you’re just say very vague comments like ‘I hear what you’re saying’, ‘I understand what you mean’.


4) Remove Emotion

This can be hard for some people to do, but keep your tone and attitude plain, have no emotion. Your goal is to just bring the customer along a path into a result that works for you. Remember, if you raise your voice you’re just going to undermine all the work you’ve done in the previous steps.


5) Thank Them

Thanking them for being so honest; it catches them off guard and completely flips the customer. Then you have an opportunity to ask them questions relating to the issues they had. This provides a good learning opportunity (even if it’s “not working with customers like this again”). If you think having angry customers is bad, try having customers that just don’t engage. Then you’ll end up not knowing that you’re doing wrong, and that’s a stressful place to be.


6) Turn It

So now you’ve followed all those steps you can now start to turn the customer around. Take the details of what has annoyed them explain to them what you can do to fix it. Remember not to over promise them results, just make sure you keep them in the loop on what’s going on. That will give them a sense of control and then you’ll find all the anxiety will lift.

If those steps don’t prove successful then maybe the best thing to do is just do an Invoice Refund and cut your losses. This short video will show you in a couple of steps how you can refund invoices and how Bullet’s Free Online Accounting & Payroll software will manage all the accounting issues for your business.

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