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How to Help an Unsatisfied Customer in 6 Easy Steps

Helping an unsatisfied customer is a bit of an art form, but follow these simple steps and you’ll be weaving customer experience masterpieces.

image of people assisting an unsatisfied customer

How many times have you been an unsatisfied customer in need of assistance? You ask for help, and what do you get?


Why is the customer support agent making excuses?

  • The system is slow
  • Someone forgot to put notes in your account
  • The billing department was supposed to update that
  • The Internet was down
  • It was lost in the mail

Usually, you find out that it is nobody’s fault because it is everyone else’s fault. This is poor customer support. Good support service is accountability, responsibility and taking action to turn an unsatisfied customer into a satisfied one.

So how should you speak with the unsatisfied customer? There are lots of customer service techniques available for you to use. Helping an unhappy customer is not always something that comes naturally to everyone. People tend to be defensive, take things personally, and let their egos get in the way of helping others. If you focus on these  six simple techniques for how to help an unsatisfied customer, you will have success a vast majority of the time:

Listen: Your customers must be heard. Listen to them. This is the main key to success. Be patient, attentive, and friendly. Make sure you are injecting little confirmations into the conversation so they can be sure you are actively listening and hearing everything they have to say.

Do not argue and do not interrupt: Being argumentative and interrupting the customer is  only going to make things worse. They are explaining their experience to you. To not allow them to do so or to tell them they are wrong is going to escalate their exasperation.

Show Empathy:  Yes, their problem is a bummer. Tell them you understand and agree.

  • ‘I apologize that happened to you.’
  • ‘Yes, that is terribly inconvenient.’
  • ‘Thank you for explaining your frustration to me.’

Be as casual as your script or company culture allows so that you don’t sound too robotic or insincere.

Maintain self-control even under fire: If you stay calm, customers will begin to calm down. But do not be patronizing. Just stay calm and listen. It’s actually pretty remarkable how callers will begin to match your tone and conversational cadence after a while even if they are worked up initially.  Remember, they aren’t mad at you, so stay focused on helping them.

Acknowledge the problem: Put the problem on the table. Then offer solutions. If you can suggest a solution, do it. Don’t offer lip service. See the issue for what it is. It’s always beneficial to put yourself in their shoes and acknowledge that you wouldn’t appreciate if their issue happened to you.

Offer a solution and follow through: Offer a real resolution to the problem. Even if that means getting them transferred to someone else who can resolve their issue. But be 100% sure you follow-through. When you do this, you will have very happy customer on your hands.

Create a superior customer service experience by following these six steps for how to help an unsatisfied customer. Achieve first call resolution and you’ll turn an unsatisfied customer into a champion for your brand.

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About Brian Gabriel

As the Call Center Manager for Sound Telecom, Brian is responsible for overseeing the daily operations and long term success of the company while managing a variety of inbound customer support programs. He also has a hand in taking care of the Solaxis services division. Prior to joining Sound Telecom, Mr. Gabriel held management positions with several prominent Internet Services companies including and Brian started his career in advertising and sales before moving to Washington State. He joined AEI Music in 1995 and supervised their international customer service department and technical support call centers. Brian received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish languages from San Diego State University. Brian teaches adult education at his church and actively supports Christian ministries.