Project Management 101: How to Deal with Angry Customers?

Every project manager has to deal with angry customers. If you haven’t encountered an irate client, it’s most probable that you are new to project management. Whether a project relates to IT or engineering, subjective evaluation is associated to a certain extent with all of them. Even everything is done everything according to the customer’s specifications, there might still be one or more superficial element regarding the project about which the customer may be unhappy.

The reality is you can’t avoid irate customers. However, you can take certain steps to effectively handle their concerns, and turn their frown upside down.

Tip 1: Remain Calm when Dealing with an Irate Customer

Just like water can extinguish the fire, a calm demeanor can help in cooling down a fuming customer. You should put yourself in a positive mindset when dealing with the angry customer. This means setting aside any ill will or negative feelings against the customer.

Dealing with an angry customer in a calm manner will ensure that the matter is resolved amicably. It’s important that you try to determine why the customer is angry, and what can be done to resolve the problem. Remaining calm when dealing with an angry customer will ensure that you remain 100 percent focused on the needs of the client.

Tip 2:  Listen more. Speak Less

When dealing with an angry customer, you should listen more and speak less when dealing with an irate customer. Listening to the concerns will have a strong therapeutic effect on the customer.  This will most likely make the customer feel less angry. Consider applying the ‘what else?’ strategy on the angry customer. And make sure that you listen attentively and genuinely.

Tip 3: Know the Exact Concerns

Irate customers don’t fume without a reason. There must be something wrong that might have caused the person to reach the boiling point. Your job is to accurately identify the concerns of the customer. One way to confirm about the concern of the customer is by repeating them. You should frame your response like this, “As I understand, you are unhappy/angry/upset/not satisfied with….”. Repeating the concerns will show that you sincerely want to resolve the issue that can calm the irate customer.

Tip 4: Agree on a Solution

After you have patiently and attentively listened to the concern of the customer, you should offer a solution. There are two approaches that you can use. You can provide a solution that you think will make the client happy, or you can ask the customer what will be the best solution to the issue.

In the end remember that project management is not just about task management, it’s also about people management. Handling an angry customer requires a high degree of tact. It requires emphatically listening to the customers’ concerns and providing a solution that will create a win-win situation.