In every customer service based profession there are always days when you encounter upset customers. This is even more true in the self storage industry. But, how do you handle a customer that is irate without damaging your reputation, hurting your business, or further upsetting the customer?

The first thing to remember is don’t take it personally. The person on the other end of the line is likely having a bad day, and/or dealing with a situation they perceive to be difficult. Take this person’s behavior in stride. Don’t allow them to take advantage of you or treat you badly, but we all handle stress differently and this may be there way of handling it.

The next thing to do is agree and sympathize with the customer. You are not necessarily agreeing that there is a problem or that it was your fault. However, you can say something like “You’re right that this is frustrating. If I was in your position I would be frustrated too”. This gives the upset customer the feeling that you are listening to what they are saying.

Then you should be actively listening. Sometimes when people are upset they don’t explain the problem completely and listening actively and asking questions may help you to understand why the customer is upset.

Once you and the customer have figured out the issue it is important to offer solutions. The solution should satisfy the issue without creating undue pressure or difficulty for you or your business. For example, if you have a customer that moved out of their unit one day late and they were charged for the entire month, you could charge them a small fee for moving out late, and refund them the months rent. Only if your policy and state laws allow of course.

Finally, follow up is important! Take note of the angry customer and follow up a week down the road to see if the situation has been resolved satisfactorily. Making sure that a situation is fully resolved and all parties are content can go a long way in customer service and the reputation of your business.