How to handle a disappointed customer (even if the customer is wrong)?

How to handle a disappointed customer (even if the customer is wrong)?

16. February 2016

“The customer is always right” and “Customer is king” are one of the most commonly used sayings in customer service. Some agree and some don’t – mostly customers agree and customer service reps don’t. Something we always say to our clients is to make sure that their customer service representatives know how to handle disappointed clients.
Let us elaborate this saying “The customer is always right, except when they’re wrong. But even when they’re wrong, you have to make them feel right.”

Very few customers reach out to companies to thank for wonderful service or doing a good job. More often customers say something when they have an issue or complaint. The truth is that sometimes it is your fault but sometimes it’s customer’s fault. Finding out whose fault it is should not be your priority though.

Your priority is to handle the disappointment of the client in the best way possible to make sure they still feel comfortable with your company and taken care of. So here we bring out five stages how to handle disappointed client even if the customer is wrong.


Be a good listener. When you are having a conversation with customer in person or on the phone, take notes or memorize what they have said. If you are communicating over email or chat turn attention during the discourse and re-read the conversation to address client’s needs. Next time bring out the points client mentioned when you have solution to this and this way client knows that he has been heard. Clients actually do highly appreciate when actions are taken and their ideas have been noted.

Let them talk

Make sure you let the customer talk until he doesn’t have anything else to say and then start talking. Then say “I want to make sure that we get this taken care of. Could you please tell me more about this issue”. Ask leading questions to show the interest to solve the problem and get as much information as possible.


Most likely you have been in the situation before where you have had to file a complaint. So most likely you also know how it feels to be in this position in the other end of the correspondence – in customer’s shoes. Tap into this and try to understand that for customer his complaint is the most important thing in their heads right now. Say “I understand that this can be very stressful but I’m here to help you to solve this in the best possible way I can to make this up to you”.


Apologize! A simple “I’m very sorry to hear about this” to start from. Although it doesn’t always calm the client down and sometimes you might hear “I don’t want your apologizes, I want a solution” it is still very important to apologize. Even if it was not your fault or even if it was not your company’s fault customer deserves an apology at the very least. Keep your pride in check and put the client’s feelings first.

Give a solution

Either you can solve the problem instantly or not, make sure that client understands that you are trying to and this is your only mission to make sure they end up happy. If you cannot give a solution right away say that you have all the information now and you will go to speak with your team or supervisor to discuss the solution and give a timeframe when you will get back to him. It’s very important to give a timeframe – a reasonable one. If you cannot keep the solution in the timeframe promised, still contact the client to let him know you are on it and it just takes a bit more time. Give your name and contact details so that client can directly contact you and feels secure with his problem in your hands now.

Our clients have to deal with disappointed customers from time to time. We have found that the above points have helped them a lot to deal with customer retention and satisfaction. Problems are never ideal but how you are handling them can lead to a much stronger sense of brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.

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