There was a woman in Chicago back in 2016 who sued Starbucks for $5 million. She claimed that the company is putting too much ice on cold drinks, arguing that Starbucks is not living up to its advertisements of 24-ounce beverages. Of course, the lawsuit was dismissed and was even called “the most frivolous lawsuit of 2016” by the US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.
This incident shows that businesses experience such unfortunate reality. That said, small businesses need to analyze how small details can lead to lawsuits. For example, if the employee of Starbucks had told the woman that she had options, such as “no ice” and “light ice,” the lawsuit wouldn’t have happened.
It can be a scary experience when a customer threatens to sue your small business, but it’s crucial to stay calm and not panic. Keep in mind that customers who do this have a goal in mind, and if you were able to help them accomplish it, you’d be able to stop a potential legal action.
Customer Service Lawsuit Tips
An angry customer is usually hard to talk with. You might need to extend your patience and put yourself in their shoes to understand them better. The main objective here is to solve the conflict before the exasperated customer leaves your store and decides to file a lawsuit.
Why do you need to solve the conflict firsthand? It is because this could ruin your reputation. Furthermore, if the customer filed a complaint through a process service agency, it’s only a matter of time before you receive a summon.
However, you can also consult a reliable process server to help you defend yourself. But before we get there, here are a few things you can do to manage an angry customer.
While a threat can be pretty scary, staying calm is crucial. Do not panic. Many customer threats do not end in lawsuits because they understand the complexity of the whole process. Often, customers only threaten businesses to show how upset they are with the service.
However, that does not mean that you can disregard their threat. You still need to recognize their dissatisfaction and follow your case escalation processes. If you panic, you might say things that could agitate the customer more.
Understand the Customer
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes so you can understand what makes them extremely upset. Understanding their situation is an excellent way to develop the best solutions for the conflict.
Try to figure out what the customer is trying to accomplish and why the problem is blocking them from getting their goal. Once you understand the customer’s situation, talk to them calmly and share the solutions you have in mind.
Don’t Take It Personally
Irrelevant feelings or emotions might arise if you take the situation personally. Remember, the customer does not know who you are or your story. They are only basing the case on their experience.
So it’s vital not to take things personally. After all, the customer wouldn’t even care about your personal issues. An angry customer usually just needs someone to vent out, and if you happen to be that person, listen to their concerns. Try not to lose your control because this is the point where your customer service body language can make a huge difference.
Understand the Root Cause
When a customer gives negative feedback, make sure to take note. While listening is imperative, assuring the customer that you understand what they are going through is crucial. If possible, get a pen and paper and write down their concerns. Doing this will show the customer that you take this matter seriously and are willing to help them.
After the customer vent out, repeat the details back to them by using the exact phrase or words they did when talking. This is an essential step to help them solve the problem.
Issue a Sincere Apology
Sometimes, all a customer needs is a sincere apology. After showing them that you are willing to listen to their concerns and help them find a solution, they will most likely accept your sincere apology.
Being apologetic is essential if you did something wrong that causes a customer to be upset. Your customer knows that you are not perfect and that mistakes are part of the business, but still, they expect you to be accountable and take responsibility for your actions.
When it comes to dealing with angry customers, you need to offer a genuine sorry. It’s easy to sense insincere apologies, so you have to be truly sorry for the mistake. Showing empathy will make the customer realize how badly you want to make things right.
Unfortunately, some customers are hard to reach. Some of them still won’t budge even after you apologize. If this is the case, it will be wiser to seek legal advice from an expert. Call your lawyer and ask what you need to do at this point.
Assisting an agitated customer who threatens to sue your business is not easy. But with the help of the tips mentioned above, you should be able to navigate your way out of a lawsuit and come up with the best solutions.