“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates


Every Salesperson is required to deal with unhappy customers and problem resolution, which may lead to the Salesperson becoming demotivated and the potential loss of a customer. Psychologist Sherrie Campbell argues that “sticking it out requires a strategy for dealing with difficult people, self-restraint and an ability to keep power in the relationship.” Customer Service requires techniques and steps that will assist you in turning the situation around and winning your unhappy customers over.


1.      Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Empathise with and relate to the customer, rather than take things personally, become defensive, or attempt to challenge them.

2.      Listen Actively: Your client obviously wants their grievances to be heard. Mind Tools argues that you should start the dialogue with a neutral statement, such as “Let’s go over what has happened…” or “Please tell me why you are upset?”

3.      Be Patient: Don’t try to resolve the issue immediately, rather take your time by approaching the issue step-by-step.

4.      Show The Customer That You Care: Begin by thanking the customer and apologizing for any inconveniences caused. Your voice should be lowered and speech should be slow, in order to promote a calm negotiation process. “Kill them with kindness” argues Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle, a Contributor to Forbes magazine.

5.      Imagine an Audience: Sherrie Campbell argues further that “the sales professional should invoke the ‘invisible audience’ to remain grounded and in top performance mode” when dealing with an unhappy customer.

6.      Present a Solution: Suggest ways in which you plan on resolving the customers’ problem. If the customer is not satisfied with your suggestions, allow them to recommend alternative solutions to the problem. Don’t make promises you can’t keep!

7.      Take Action & Follow Up: Inform the customer of the steps that will be taken in order to resolve the problem. Provide regular feedback, support, and don’t give up. We would suggest that you “under promise and over deliver”, in order to avoid creating false expectations.

8.      Provide a Memorable Service: The customer will remember the way you approached the problem, and they will recommend your services to others depending on how satisfied they were with your support. Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle argues further that “all businesses should have a plan of attack – no pun intended – for problems that may occur in the future, in order to help navigate how to handle customer complaints as seamlessly, professionally and graciously as possible.”


By Jeandé Elizabeth Lück