Customer Experience

How to Recover from 5 Negative Customer Service Interactions

Don’t worry—you can bounce back after a negative experience.

Source: vm / E+ / Getty

Customer service remains king of the marketing sphere. After all, there’s no better way to sell your products or services than to treat your customers with respect, dignity, and honesty. Loyal customers will become your best form of marketing and sales. But if you have a negative experience with a customer, it can really shake you up.

Here are five common negative customer service interactions and how to recover from them without burning bridges permanently.

  1. A customer was told two different things. Whether it’s two separate customer service agents or that your website doesn’t match your latest return policy, it can be frustrating for customers to receive varying information. Immediately promise that you’ll find out what’s actually right from a manager, and then do so. If there’s a way you can allow them to have the option that was told to them and is most in their best interest, try and make it happen.
  2. You snapped a bit or got sharp over the phone. It happens—but it certainly isn’t something you want to make a habit of. Apologize profusely, and offer to let them speak with your manager. Then, think about why you may have lost control—was it because you had too many calls in one afternoon? You were overtired or hungry? Try and notice patterns so as not to repeat the mistake again.
  3. Your product was broken, or your service wasn’t delivered correctly. Apologize and ask how they would like you to make the situation better. Sometimes, people simply want acknowledgement. Other times, they may request a full or partial refund. But by apologizing on behalf of the company, you’re already taking an important first step.
  4. Someone posted something negative on social media. First of all, calm down—it’s highly likely that not that many people have seen the comment. Then, send a direct message to the commenter and ask if you can help him or her problem solve over the phone or e-mail instead. You don’t want negativity spewing out all over your social media pages.
  5. Someone completely lost his or her mind on the phone with you. Take a deep breath and a short break. You’re a human being—it’s natural to feel completely flustered when someone goes off the rails. Some people will simply never be satisfied with you, and if you’ve done all you can and they’re still treating you disrespectfully, just take a short breather before diving back into other customer calls.