7 tips to defuse angry clients

7 tips to defuse angry clients

Review these techniques to help you prepare for your next encounter with aggressive clients.
Jul 01, 2008

When tempers flare, it's your job to soothe pet owners' savage feelings and create a more reasonable tone for conversations. Use these strategies to reframe the situation.

1. Review what happened. Give clients the chance to describe what occurred while you listen closely. This shows your interest in their description of the events and gives you more time to consider how you’ll respond.

2. Meet in person. Sometimes your first discussion with angry clients is over the phone. It's often best to delay this conversation to give the client time to calm down, so ask to meet in your office later. Your goal is a calm, constructive meeting.

3. Involve an objective third party. When personalities or other issues prevent a resolution, it's time to call in an intermediary such as the practice manager or owner. Explain to the third party that you're looking for an objective perspective. Often this person's presence helps cut the tension.

4. Develop solutions that work for everyone. Don't get caught up in "he said, she said" accusations. Focus on resolving the issue. Once you can determine what went wrong, you can create a reasonable solution that makes clients happy.

5. Be open to clients' ideas. Sometimes clients aren't happy with any resolutions you offer. If you think you can manage the situation, ask clients for possible solutions. But be careful, if clients haven't been happy with the ideas you proposed, they may suggest unreasonable solutions.

6. Tell clients you'll consider their suggestions. Everyone appreciates an empathetic person. So acknowledge you don't want a similar situation to occur again. And tell clients you've heard their suggestions and if you can apply them at your clinic, you will.

7. Remember your goal. Don't let egos or loud voices determine the outcome. Forget who's right and wrong. Your goal is to resolve this conflict. And the more you include clients' thoughts and feelings in this discussion, the better.