Upset Customers

Upset customers can sink your business - especially in the MSP space. Learn to manage your customer emotions

Written by Ian Richardson

October 23, 2023

Upset Customers

Upset customers sink a business relationship faster than icebergs introducing themselves to the Titanic at a dinner party. Those lost customers never failed to give me massive heartburn:

– How am I going to make payroll

– Who do we have to let go

– How can I replace this revenue today?

Fear, anxiety, frustration, and paralysis were all common “feelings” in my world. Those feelings seem to be a theme across entrepreneurs in these situations.

Upset customers need special care. Take care when managing customer emotions. You must maintaij empathy when pursuing root cause analysis.

Managing Customer Emotions

Customers will have strong reactions to situations.

Your account management team must have a process that can manage these reactions.

Documenting and training to the process is key to its success.

My process has three steps, each with subparts. I’ll share those below:

STEP 1: The Meeting

  1. Ask good questions about the situation.
  2. Confirm what you heard (Use Mirroring).
  3. Quantify Impact and Confirm Stakeholders.
  4. Set a follow up meeting with due dates.


Our team would ask ourselves three questions:

  • What did we do that we shouldn’t have done?
  • What didn’t we do that we should have done?
  • What did we learn?

Those lessons learned get adopted into the process, SOPs, Standards, and training.

We would operationalize them as soon as possible without further compromising experience.


Customer follow up occurred post resolution of their problem. We also did a 60 day touch base to ensure there were no hard feelings remaining. We tended to ask about “solution satisfaction” at that time as well as feeling management.

I would review progress on internal improvement efforts with customers who needed it.

If someone was “un-satisfied” I would do 90 day touchpoints until they were happy, or until we lost the account.

Final word on upset customers.

Michael Crean, a friend of mine, shared his best practices on this topic. Michael is the CEO of Solutions Granted, a Managed I.T. Security Solutions Provider (MSSP).

You can hear from Michael in the video clip below.

The Thursday Process: The Upset Customer’s Mindset

Account management is a bear to get right. If you’re struggling on account management and keeping clients happy, I help with that.

My Calendar is available here:

Also, you might enjoy my Referral Training Course, available for $499:

That course goes into customer account management and how to actively get referrals from happy customers.

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