Have you been missold a PPI policy? Banks such as Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland have already set aside £24bn to compensate consumers.

I know this sounds like the opening line of the many ads that appear daily on the TV about PPI, but it seems the FCA is set to gather evidence on current PPI complaint trends to assess whether it is meeting its objectives of securing appropriate protection for consumers.


According to a statement, the FCA has said that it would publish its findings in the summer. Firms should in the meantime continue to deal with complaints and consumers should continue to complain to the firm that sold PPI to them and to the Financial Ombudsman Service if they are not satisfied with the firm’s response. The Consumer group Which? has welcomed the FCA's intervention.

Most customer service representatives would probably say that their least favourite aspect of their job is dealing with angry or irate customers. Once a customer has reached the boiling point of frustration and annoyance, it can be very difficult – and trying – to bring your company back into that customer’s favour once again.

However, the task is not impossible and with these Top 5 Tips, you can successfully convert an angry customer into a loyal client once again.

1. Switch your thinking

Switch your thinking from dealing with a complaint to handling a concern.

Behind your customer’s anger is a likely legitimate concern that you can help him with.

Focus on the concern and a solution will come more easily. Although angry customers take their frustration out on you, they know that you did not cause their problem.

Allow them to vent about their problem but do not take it personally. Listen to their story without interrupting and then find a way to help.

It’s natural for upset customers to express their anger but some customers can take things too far and your reaction may be to defend yourself.

However, as a professional customer service specialist, you should never argue back.

Maintain your integrity and be the better person.

If customers begin to abuse you verbally, let them know that you understand their frustration and that being rude will not solve their problem.

Let the customer know that you are there to help but cannot do so until they calm down.

2. Thank them

Thank the customer for raising their concern.

It may seem strange to thank someone who is ranting at you but they are giving you the chance to make things right, rather than moving their business elsewhere.

And that definitely deserves thanks!

3. Listen

The vast majority of customer complaints are legitimate, so this should always be your first assumption.

Writing information down will ensure that you’ve accurately documented the situation, help you find solutions, avoid having the customer repeat themselves and make it easier to relate the event to others if needed.

Listen to your customer, paying close attention to body language, tone and (of course) what they tell you.

Reiterate their concern to be sure you fully understand the gist of the problem and to prove you were actually listening actively.

Avoid words and phrases that can ‘fan the fire’ such as:-

– Our policy is…

– Calm down!

– What’s your problem?

– That’s not our fault!

– You’re wrong…

– Listen to me…

– I can’t…

– Why won’t you be reasonable?

– That’s all I can do…

4. Apologise

When the time is right, apologise to your customer. It’s difficult to be sincere when you are trying not to lose your cool, but for the sake of calming down your customer, try your hardest to give a genuine apology.

Depending on the customer’s complaint and the direction of the conversation, there are a few different ways you can apologise:-

“I’m sorry you’re unhappy with your purchase. Let’s work together to turn things around.”

“I’m sorry you didn’t receive your purchase on time. Let me find out what I can do to make it up to you.”

“I’m sorry you’re so frustrated. I understand where you are coming from and I will do my best to help you.”

– Apologise and acknowledge their feelings

– Sympathise and let them talk

– Prepare to help, ask questions and convey personal caring

– Speak normally; do not raise your voice

– Slow your speech down a bit and lower your pitch

Echo Key Points

This will go a long way in reassuring the customer and make sure that you understand the ‘heart’ of their complaint. In other words, “ask the question behind the question.”

Apologise for any inconvenience they’ve experienced and let them know that you and everyone at your company will continue to ensure that their future experiences are a pleasure.

5. Resolve it

Then, make things right!

Find that solution. Do not play the blame game or pass the buck. Just fix it for the customer.

If this will take a little time, continue to remind your customer that you are working for them to find a solution to the issue.

Communicate and keep them in the loop – not in the dark.

Want more Top Tips on Handling an Unhappy Customer?

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