6 tips for dealing with angry customers

Dealing with an angry customer on the phone is typically one of the least desirable aspects of working in customer service. It is less probable a customer will call with a compliment so it's probably best to be always be prepared for a complaint and/or an angry customer anytime that phone rings.

Some complaints are easy to deal with and are reasonable complaints, but there may be times a customer's anger is not justified because he or she is incorrect about the issue or facts. Even if this occurs, the customer still needs to be treated respectfully. There will be times a customer is wrong, and a good customer service representative must recognize the need to balance feelings of wanting to tell the raging customer off to maintaining a professional demeanor.

6 tips for dealing with angry customers

Image credit: Pixabay

1. Listen carefully

Any time a customer calls, it is important to listen carefully and get the details of the complaint. An angry customer typically wants to vent and be heard. It is sometimes hard to ascertain what the problem is if the customer is ranting - note down everything he or she is saying, this will make it easier to determine what the issue is. Additionally, listen to what he or she has to say and offer apologies for the fact he or she is having a bad experience.

2. Show empathy

Often a customer just needs to feel as if he or she is understood. Offering empathy can effectively give the customer a chance to feel not only listened to, but treated with compassion. Offering empathy doesn't mean the customer is right nor does a service representative need to pretend the customer is correct, but providing levels of understanding, coupled with patience, can often defuse anger quickly. Always remember to apologize on behalf of the company, even if the customer is incorrect, it is important to acknowledge and sympathize with a customer's feelings.

3. Be patient

When a person is in an angry state of mind, patience helps. This doesn't mean you should take abuse, but patiently listening can also help disseminate an escalated anger situation. The objective is to satisfy the customer and resolve the issue and by offering a reasonable amount of patience (again, not take abuse), often a customer will sit and listen once they've been heard.

4. Respect feelings

Even if you don't agree with a customer's perspective and know he or she is in the wrong about the issue, it is still important to respect his or her feelings about it. Let the angry person have his or her say and then hopefully the customer will have released enough anger to allow you a chance to speak and try to help.
Image credit: Pixabay

5. Offer solutions or alternatives

If the customer is right about the issue, follow company policies on how to resolve the problem and try to provide a solution, if you are able. If the customer is not correct and you cannot give him or her what is wanted, then perhaps see if there aren't any alternative options you can offer.

6. Escalate the call

Some customers just will not be satisfied if his or her anger levels are strong enough. If the caller gets abusive or you cannot effectively come up with a solution or alternative, next you should escalate the call to a supervisor or manager. There will be times passing the call up the chain will be necessary. In the event a customer calls to unleash wrath about an issue, this is an event that needs to be dealt with gently, and it is not always easy. Sometimes the front line is not the best place to deal with this sort of anger.

Dealing with an angry customer on the telephone can be difficult, but by following the above tips you may be able to diffuse and/or resolve the situation. When I was in a position that required high interaction with the public, I found these techniques to work most of the time. However, it is important to brace yourself for the fact there will be times you cannot resolve issues.

In the event of extreme anger, remember to always keep your cool and show your organization's best face. Never lose your temper or yell back at a customer, it is always best to take the high road when delivering customer service. Your job could depend on it, even if the customer is wrong. Plus, if you do resolve the situation calmly and achieve customer satisfaction, you may even end up with a referral.


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