We’ve all had to deal with angry customers. Disappointed clients, infuriated readers, resentful consumers—whatever your line of work, there’s somebody who’s not happy with what they bought from you.
If you’re a communicator working for a consumer brand, no matter how good your product is, no matter how accurately it’s been promoted, no matter how responsible a corporate citizen your brand is, somebody somewhere is angry at your company. If you’re at an agency, you’ve got a client right now who feels that what’s been paid for hasn’t been delivered.
The same holds for personal relations—somebody you’re related to or a friend you’ve known for years is holding a grudge because of something you said or did or didn’t do.
The question is, how do you handle the anger? Figuring out how to hear, absorb and respond to someone else’s anger is part of the job of being a professional in any line of work. And if you’re a PR practitioner, being able to deal with a customer’s anger in e-mails, on social networks, on the phone and in person can make your career.
I’m not a psychologist and can’t pretend to offer tips on how to handle an absolutely red-hot customer on Facebook, beyond trying to take the conversation offline. One way or another, though, you have to meet that person’s anger head-on. Most people avoid confrontation—that’s a basic fact. But if you can specialize in dealing directly with your company’s angriest customers or your agency’s most furious clients, you’ve got a calling card that’ll make you unique, valued and respected. Cool heads prevail—always.
Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI