It’s actually quite simple.

Turning an upset, complaining customer – or protesting patient – into a devoted follower is not all that difficult.

The problem is that we let our emotions get in the way.

Some of us get defensive and build an impenetrable wall of resentment or denial. We know our patient is wrong, and we set out to show them the error of their ways.

Some of us feel guilty and incompetent, so we stutter through embarrassed apologies while waiting for the ground to open up and swallow us.

Some of us are just so afraid of conflict that we’ll do almost anything to avoid it. We palm it off to someone else to deal with or say whatever will make the whole episode finish fastest.

And did you notice? None of that is helpful to the patient.

None of those techniques give the patient what they need when they’re upset.

That’s really all there is to it. You just have to understand what the patient needs at that moment – and give it to them.

I don’t mean you have to agree with everything they say or give them whatever they request.

Because that’s not really what they want.

What someone wants when they’re complaining are just two little things. They want to know:

  • that you actually care about them on a personal level
  • how you’re going to fix their problem so it doesn’t happen again

That’s it. If you can do that, you’ll be able to turn the situation around.

And if you need a little more structure, check out this infographic on How to Handle Customer Complaints (Without Losing Your Cool).

It contains a simple, four-step process to smoothing over complaining customers.

How to Handle Customer Complaints (Without Losing Your Cool)



Keep Calm and Carry On

You don’t need to get anxious or angry. You don’t need to get defensive, or worry about conflict.

You don’t even have to prove you’re right.

You just need to stay calm when you’re handling complaining customers. Listen to them.

Use a little empathy so they know you care about them on a personal level. Figure out how to fix the problem, and how to prevent it happening again.

Pretty soon your customer will be telling all their friends about how caring and considerate you are. The problem they had will seem insignificant when you deal with it sensitively and compassionately.

You’ll have transformed them from cantankerous to contented. And they’ll be devoted followers.

All because you treated them well when they were upset.