In this episode of the eCommerce Lifestyle Podcast, Anton shares tips on what you can do when customers act irrationally.
As always, if you have any questions and suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below. Don’t forget to share this with someone who needs to hear it.
What's Covered in This Episode:
Tips on how to handle irate customers
Links From This Episode:
What's up everybody? Anton Kraly here from ecommercelifestyle.com, and welcome back to the podcast. If you're new here, just know that this show comes out twice a week, every Monday and Thursday morning, and every episode is designed to help eCommerce store owners to increase their revenue, automate their operations, and become the authority in their niche. So, if you're not subscribed yet, go to your favorite podcast player of choice, search for eCommerce Lifestyle, click subscribe, and you'll get notified every time a new episode goes live.
Now, today's episode, definitely a valuable lesson here, but more of a story, I guess, because the time I'm recording this is actually Monday morning and pretty early Monday morning. And I'm recording this right after I just got back from a weekend beach trip. We went to Hilton Head and just had a good weekend, went to the beach, still warm enough, had a bunch of good food, bunch of good beers, and just enjoyed ourselves. So, while we were there, we were doing what we normally do on vacation, going on Yelp, looking for different places to eat because my wife and I both love food, and we found this awesome bakery, this French bakery, which, by the way, I would really highly recommend for anybody that is in Hilton Head or passing through. I'll probably, if I remember, I'll post the link in the podcast description.
But we went there on... What day was it? On Friday morning for breakfast. I had just an awesome meal, really good French pastries and whatnot. The owner was there. This guy came out just to introduce himself. He took us to the bakery to give us a tour, which I don't know it was random, but it was awesome because my wife is huge into baking and pastries. So, he took us in the back, showed us how they made everything, showed us how they bake their bread. The guy gave us a free loaf of bread. So, just awesome experience, right? Great food, great people, and yeah, just a good time.
So, we went back there on Sunday morning, yesterday, before we had left to drive back home, and we just went into pick up some stuff to go get some bread, get some pastries, whatever. And while we were there, there was a big line because it's a good place, it's a small place, it's busy, so there was a pretty long line. So, we're waiting there. My wife was waiting in line. I'm hanging out with our son running around. And this woman, that was a couple of spots in line back behind my wife, started to get antsy and started to panic. I don't know. Like literally everyone's just waiting, ordering their stuff. Nothing crazy is going on. It's 8:00 in the morning. And you could see her pacing back and forth.
And eventually, she went in, and she didn't go in and just say, "Excuse me, I have a question." She went in saying, "Hey, I need to speak to a manager. Who's the manager? I need to speak to somebody right now." And somebody said, "Hi, I'm the manager." The guy, by the way, the owner who was there the other day wasn't there again, so just somebody else working. Said, "Yeah, hi, I'm the manager." And this woman just went into a full blown panic mode about how she's been waiting in line for 10 minutes and she doesn't understand why they can't move faster. And the manager explained to her, they have two or three people on staff, somebody is currently in training, and they're going as fast as they can.
And the woman, instead of, again, being rational and saying, "Okay, sorry about that. I'll wait like everybody else," then proceeded to say, "Well, you know what? I'm happy I never have to come back here again." Okay? I guess she was on vacation, too. But instead of saying, "I'm happy I never have to come back here," instead of getting in her car and driving to another bakery, went back, got in line and still just loud, angry. Again, it seemed like she was panicking. So, you don't have to be there lady. Eventually, she gets up to the counter to order, and she wanted, I don't know, three butter croissants and three almond croissants. And she was saying, "Well, I hope you still have them," because she had to wait. Oh no, she had to wait her turn.
So, why am I telling you this about this random woman panicking at a bakery at the beach? It's because, as this was happening, I saw the look in other people's eyes that were waiting on line. Like what is happening right now? They were almost nervous, right? Because it was weird. But as a business owner, somebody that's been selling online, but for over 10 years, I've realized that there are a lot of people that are, I would consider, unstable and irrational just like that. And as a business owner or a manager, like the manager that was dealing with this person and communicating with them, you just get used to it, but to everybody else, it's like, "What is happening here?" So, I wanted to just, I guess, share that story and share some ways that we, as a company, deal with people like this because they're out there.
So, the first time I ever was in this situation where I was on the business owner or the manager side of this, it was like, seriously, probably the first month or two I was in business, at least in the eCommerce business, and this is back when... It's funny, like full circle, this is when I was selling cookies online from a New York bakery. And somebody had ordered a box of cookies like normal, and we shipped them. I think back then it was all USPS we were using. And whatever, they got their tracking number, tracking number said, I don't remember, it was 11 years ago, but said something like, "It will be delivered on Monday." They were sent their tracking number, and then I guess something happened while it was in transit and the Monday became maybe Wednesday. Right? So, the tracking updated.
And we got the call from this person, literally screaming, "This is a scam. You didn't ship me anything. I want my money back. I'm calling my bank." I was like, "What are you saying? Excuse me, slow down. We shipped your package. There was obviously a delay in shipment, but you have your tracking number." And this person, "No, I'm going to call this person and that person and complain." I remember the first time on the other end of that. Right? As like the person running the business side, I was thinking like, "Did I do something wrong? What can I do?" I was starting to panic because this person was panicking.
And I don't remember how it was resolved. I think they probably just git their package of cookies two days later and we're fine. But I started to realize that, luckily, this isn't like a daily thing, but it definitely is a recurring thing where you have these irrational and unstable people that, for lack of a better term, I guess they just don't know how to communicate. You can offer them everything in the world, you can try to explain to them, but they just are all wound up in their own heads.
So, a couple of things I wanted to say, right? First of all, what happened here? If you work in retail, I'm sure you've dealt with plenty of people like this, and if you have a leave a comment, let me know on ecommercelifestyle.com/episodes. Or just go to ecommercelifestyle.com, click on contact, and if you have any stories like this, send them in because I'm curious. But yeah, just know that this stuff happens. And the best way is that I've found to deal with it, first of all, is just to try, again for lack of a better term, to get rid of them, but do it as politely and as kindly as possible. Right?
Back when I first started to deal with, again, irrational customers, I was always trying to go above and beyond to accommodate them because I was thinking like, "Wow, they're so upset that I really must have dropped the ball on something." And most of the time, that's not what happened. It was just them either having unrealistic expectations, like the person in line yesterday, thinking that it just should move faster and no matter what her type of croissants should be leftover, because for some reason she is better than everybody else. I don't know. But sometimes it's just it's with them. So, what I realized is what you always want to do is be as kind as you possibly can. You probably heard the saying in the past, kill them with kindness, but just try to be as nice, as calm... Don't get worked up to their level. I've done that. It doesn't work.
Try to be as kind as possible and always try to just get them their money back if they've already paid you, if they're a customer, and just try to cancel whatever it is they have with you. Sometimes you don't want to lose orders, you don't want to lose customers, you don't want to deal with people like this because you might have 400 amazing transactions and then one person that, for three weeks, sucks the life out of you and causes your stress levels to shoot through the roof. So, it's almost always better to get them their money back and get rid of them.
One thing I'll say, too, about getting rid of people politely, it's definitely easier said than done based on your own personality type. So, for me, it's not easy for me to do. If somebody is getting all worked up and, again, I know that they are completely in the wrong or they had these crazy expectations. Especially when they start to talk down to people, that's a whole nother story, but then I don't play nice. So, I still think somebody should, but if that person can't be you, just know it is okay and you should outsource customer service, find somebody that can have more of a conversation with these people. The shorter and more precise, the better, but to get rid of them, again, politely, because you don't want to get worked up to their level.
The other thing I will say is when you have a team, and you have people that are communicating with these irrational customers or prospects, they're going to have to deal with this. Right? So, they are going to see some of these messages from people that are completely disrespectful and out of line, and what you should be doing, as a business owner and as a leader, is when this stuff comes up, know, again, that your team should be nice and respectful and as polite as possible because you want to get rid of these people. But you should always have your team's back. Okay?
Never get into a situation where somebody is either just being rude on the phone to someone on your phone team or via email or live chat and you as the business owner are still trying to keep them around as a customer. If somebody is disrespecting your team, have your team know that that person is not qualified to do business with you, have your team know that their order is being canceled, that they're being refunded, and that it is not okay for your customers to treat you and your team that way. So, don't side on the side of the irrational customer here. It's not worth it, for your own stability for your team's stability. Just get rid of them and let your team know you have their back.
A couple more tips on this is, it's easier, obviously, with an online business than in that bakery situation I was just talking about, but with these people, a lot of them, I feel like they have all the time in the world on their hands. And if you respond to their email, they might respond back in two minutes and it's this back and forth. And it's, again, their energy level is getting built up and built up and built up where they're freaking out, so don't feel bad delaying your responses. So, you can either set a reminder like respond 10 hours later or tomorrow morning, or you can use an app that has delayed sending so you can schedule a response to be sent. Maybe you see the email at 2:00 PM, schedule your response to be sent the next morning at 6:00 or 7:00, right? So it's not this back and forth with them being worked up, because maybe they'll get over whatever mental state they're in by the next day. So, that has helped us, too.
And the other thing I'll say is just, again, understand that as a business owner, it's always our goal to provide the best level of customer service. We want to win by treating people right. But just know, when you're doing business, you open yourself up to the world, and like that bakery, anybody can walk through the door. And with your website, anybody can visit and call the number or click live chat. So, while the goal should always be to have the best customer service possible. Just know that there are some situations where the customer is not always right, and when that comes up, it's your job to get rid of them politely and make sure that you and your team can be happy, can have stress levels low, and you can push these, for lack of a better term, again, crazy people out of your world.
So, I don't know, guys, just a quick little rant, quick little story I wanted to share after that trip. And if I can find that bakery name, it's like something French bakery, I'll post the link up in the podcast description, too. Highly recommend it if you're in Hilton Head. So, that's it guys. I appreciate you. Again, if you're not subscribed to the podcast, be sure to go to your favorite podcast player, search for eCommerce Lifestyle, click subscribe. And if you're brand new and you want to know how we build highly profitable semi-automated stores, go to dropshipwebinar.com for a free training from me. I will link that up in the description, also. So, thank you, appreciate you, and I will talk to you in the next one. See ya.