This sounds a lot easier than it actually is at times. It’s important to remain calm under all circumstances, the restaurant can be a dangerous place! When a customer reacts badly, it can be to circumstances within the restaurant or sometimes even outside of your control…
Sometimes the customer might be reacting negatively to something happening in their personal life. The important thing is to remain calm and don’t panic, as you don’t want to escalate the situation!
Don’t Take It Personally!
The majority of the time, your customer isn’t necessarily angry with you or the service you’ve provided. There is a good chance that they may be unhappy with your product or even things outside their current circumstances.
Even if you have made a mistake, it’s important to let things go and focus on politely dealing with your unhappy customer. Bringing personal feelings of injustice and possibly anger into it can make you and your company look bad. If you’ve done something wrong, apologise. A sincere apology can go a long way to helping your customer feel better and resolving the conflict.
If You Can’t Handle It Get Help!
There will be times when an angry customer will be a little too much for you to handle. They might ask to speak to your manager or another member of staff. If you don’t feel you can handle the situation, you can always offer to get another staff member or your manager if the customer has a complaint.
If the customer is angry because of something that you’ve done personally, bringing a new face into the conversation will probably help. You have to be prepared for the fact that it’s extremely likely that the customer will have some negative comments about you which may or may not be true. Under these circumstances it’s best not to defend yourself on the spot as this can only make things worse.
When someone is really angry, the first thing that they generally want to do is vent about it. They’re going to need someone to listen to what they have to say and unfortunately sometimes that falls down to you.
If you take the time to patiently and calmly listen to what your customer has to say, you have a good chance of defusing a potentially volatile situation. When they’ve explained the situation, respond to the points they are making and be helpful. If there is a problem you can resolve, work to resolve it!
When the customer has finished venting to you, they will want you to understand their position, their experience and why they’re upset. By listening carefully to them when they vent you will have a good idea what they need from you. You need to be sympathetic to their feelings and accept the fact that they have had a bad customer experience.
By taking their feelings into account, respecting them and helping to deal with issues, you will have a far superior chance of calming the customer down and resolving the conflict.
Pay Attention To Body Language
Body language sometimes speaks louder than words. You can work out a lot just by looking at how a person reacts to a situation and analyzing their body language. The customer you are dealing with may not realise it but they are subconsciously going to react to your body language! If they’re angry they may clench their fists, and you may find that you feel threatened.
It’s important to not cross your arms, which the customer will see as defensive or clench your own fists which they will notice as aggressive even if this is on a subconscious level. Maintain eye contact and try to remain relaxed. By reacting badly physically you could provoke a negative response in the customer.
Look For A Resolution!
When you’ve got an understanding as to why your customer is unhappy, it’s possible that you can find some kind of resolution to the problem. Ask them what they would like to be done about the situation, or put forwards a fair and realistic answer to their issue. A lot of the time the customer wants a resolution they can be happy with and providing them with one will sort out many of these conflicts.
Make sure to take some time for yourself after this is over. It’s always important to give yourself time to calm down. These situations are highly stressful, even if you have become used to them. It’s important to be able to take the time that you need before continuing to work so that you aren’t hindered by your physical reaction to the situation. It’s always hard dealing with these situations but they happen! The important thing to do is just take them as they come and try not to worry about them!