How To Deal With Difficult Customers On WhatsApp (And Beyond)

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Dealing with difficult customers is part of doing business. Even the most successful companies will encounter demanding, impatient or dissatisfied customers at times.

Knowing how to handle these conflicts effectively will set your customer service apart. Let’s look at why customer satisfaction is important, the different types of difficult customers, and top tips to help you manage expectations and defuse tense situations gracefully.

Why is good customer service important?

Creating and maintaining a good relationship with your customers is absolutely vital to your business’ success. In fact, a staggering 83% of customers say that other than price and product, good customer service is the most important factor when deciding what to purchase. It’s worth taking the time to develop a good customer service strategy and hone your communication skills – particularly in stressful situations.

How to handle different types of difficult customers

The nature of each customer complaint will vary depending on the situation. It’s worth remembering that, as humans, we all have bad days, and we never know what someone else may be going through. A customer who would usually be pleasant and communicative may present as antagonistic if they’re under extreme stress. That said, some customers are consistent complainers and are very rarely happy with any product or service. Here are some strategies for managing impatient, demanding, indecisive, vague, and angry customers through WhatsApp.

Dealing with impatient or demanding customers on WhatsApp Business

The situation: Some customers expect an instant resolution to their query or complaint, and it’s just not possible to be available 24/7.

The solution: Set up Automatic Away Messages to let customers know when your working hours start and end – and keep your Business Profile updated with them too. This manages expectations by letting customers know when they should expect a reply from you.

When you do get in touch, manage the complaint clearly and calmly while reassuring them that time and effort are being invested into resolving it in the best possible way. You can choose to apologise for the delay in getting back to them or simply re-iterate your company’s normal response times so that they know what to expect next time.

Dealing with indecisive or vague customers on WhatsApp Business

The situation: Customers might take a long time or request lots of information from you before they make a decision. This can make it difficult to track them through the sales funnel and take up lots of your time and energy as you manually send over information and field queries.

The solution: Make sure your Product Catalog is up to date and direct customers to browse through this at their convenience.

Use Labels to stay on top of where each chat is in the sales funnel, so you can easily see who may require a nudge. Check in periodically to see if the customer requires any further information or input from you.

If it’s appropriate to the conversation, ask the customer questions that will help them to clarify the best choice for them. These can be about factors including price, product or service specifics, or availability.

Dealing with angry customers on WhatsApp Business

The situation: Sometimes, no matter how great the service you provide, a customer simply isn’t happy. Often in these scenarios the customer feels ignored or aggrieved.

The solution: This is one example where it’s best not to use a templated message, as you want the customer to know that you are personally reading and replying to them.

Try starting your response by apologising for the issue that the customer has identified and thanking them for getting in touch with you about it. This helps to defuse the situation by validating the customer’s feelings and making them feel valued.

Next, move on to the specific points that they’ve raised in their communication, and suggest a resolution for each one. Try to keep messages to angry customers polite, brief, and to the point. You don’t want to give them any further reasons for grievances, and the aim is to resolve the problem as swiftly as possible.

Dealing with customers who want a refund on WhatsApp Business

The situation: If a customer isn’t satisfied with your product or service, they may ask for their money back.

The solution: It’s important to convey your company’s refund policy clearly and transparently in your reply. Using pre-set text in templated Quick Replies can be a great way to ensure that no details are missed.

If you’re able to provide a refund, explain how this will be processed and when they should expect to receive the funds. If you’re not able to provide a refund, give a clear reason why, and outline an alternative solution (such as a partial refund or credit towards a future purchase).

5 tips for dealing with unhappy customers effectively on WhatsApp Business

Let the customer have their say

One of the main reasons that customers complain is that they don’t feel like they have been heard. Even if you disagree with the customer’s opinions or interpretations, let them explain their side completely. If they send a message and they’re still typing, wait for them to send a second message before replying.

Validate the customer’s feelings and show empathy

The most important step in defusing a tense situation is showing that the customer has been heard and understood. Try to see the problem from their perspective. Show sympathy and echo the customer’s concerns or grievances back to them.

Start your message with an apology, or thank the customer for bringing the issue to your attention. These small changes can help the customer feel seen and heard, switching them out of conflict mode and into a more calm state.

Use pre-templated messages for complicated responses

It can be challenging to remember everything that should be included in a reply, particularly if it involves specific company policies or processes. Creating a ‘cheat sheet’ of stock responses, or using Quick Replies, can be a great way to save time and ensure a high quality of writing in your messages. Remember to edit the message to make it unique and specific to the issue at hand before sending it.

Stay calm and keep the conversation on track

When a customer is angry, they’re not necessarily going to respond in a rational way. As a customer service provider, it can help to take a deep breath and calm yourself before responding.

Keep your messages clear, compassionate, and to the point. If the customer starts to go on a tangent, gently but firmly move the conversation back to the solutions at hand.

Let very aggressive customers know that you won’t tolerate threatening or abusive language, and remind them that you are here to help find a solution together.

Use Automatic Greetings and Automatic Away Messages to manage expectations

One of the benefits of using WhatsApp Business to communicate with customers is that you can set up auto-replies. These are a great way to manage expectations around response times.

You could use Automatic Greeting messages when customers first get in touch to let them know how long your usual response times are. Automatic Away Messages can be helpful around holiday periods or out-of-office hours, so customers know when you will check and respond to messages again.

How can I set up WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Messenger on the same phone?

Already use WhatsApp Messenger for personal use? You’ll need a virtual second phone number to set up a separate WhatsApp Business account on the same device. Our virtual WhatsApp Business number service offers a cost-effective, flexible that’s inexpensive and easy to set up: you’ll be on the go within minutes.

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Picture of George Lineker

George Lineker

The co-founder of YourBusinessNumber, George has a lasting interest in modern communications technology, and is an advocate of simple and easy to use tools for businesses of all sizes. He has a background in mobile telecom solutions along with qualifications in business and management support services.
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