How to handle angry customers

Customer service skills are an important part of working at a business or owning a business. These skills can be transferred into other areas of life as well. Learning the top pointers for dealing with annoyed customers will give a sales clerk or reception area greeter an edge over the competition.

By knowing how to avoid, prevent, and ultimately satisfy angry customers, you will be one step closer to offering complete and perfect customer service and a high level of customer appreciation.

Be Professional

It isn't about you as a person, because after all they don't know you. It is something where the customer probably doesn't feel heard or is frustrated that their needs are not being met.

Stay professional no matter how irate the other person gets. Calm minds can solve problems, while irritated minds cannot. Don't defend yourself, just be the stronger person and let it flow over you. In the moment they make you feel upset; you become the same as them and no longer able to help, so keep your cool.

Abusing a customer service person is not ok, and you can say something if they begin to, but keep it simple. "I'm sorry you are having this problem; I can't help you until you calm down," puts the responsibility for the response back on the customer where it belongs.

Focus on the Product or Service

If it a defective product, you can be sympathetic as long as you make no promises. Sometimes things break down, and even if you suspect it may be the customer's fault, don't call them on it. This will only escalate the situation.

Also, don't directly blame another team member even if they are at fault for the situation the client is in. Rather than saying "Jonny should have...", try "We should have..." After all, providing great customer service is a team game and blaming an individual employee for a client's problem will only foster animosity between that team member and the client.

Be Patient

You may not feel patient, but if you act patiently the customer will believe that you are patient. This often goes a long way toward calming an angry customer down.

Do your best to help them articulate what the problem is and what solution they would see as a resolution? It may be that you cannot offer this solution; however, the chances are good your customer will feel as though you are on their side if you are patient and take the time to listen to what they are saying.

How to Keep Calm

No one but you will be able to resolve the stress you feel after dealing with an angry customer. Have a ritual or system which you use every time, something familiar, which releases your pent-up frustrations and energy.

For example, a walk around the block, a five-minute break, a rubber ball which you squeeze at your desk, a snack and a drink, whatever helps you deal with your stuff so that you are fresh and ready for the next customer. Nothing is worse than being the customer after an angry one, if the customer service personnel have not had a chance to re-center themselves.

If you handle your customer service requests via email, make sure you're calm when you respond to the client. When receiving a frustrating message from a client, it's natural to immediately want to be defensive, but this doesn't help resolve anything. Take some time before responding to ensure that you can think logically through the situation and find the best solution for the customer.

You Can't Please Everybody

While this saying is very true, especially with angry customers, there are ways which you can make them feel validated and respected. Try rephrasing what they say to show you understand it. Be firm with what you are able to do to help and what you are not able, so they truly feel they are being treated as fairly as the person before them and the person after them.

As Bill Gates says, your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. Put yourself in the other person's place when possible, and you may gain an insight into how to deal with the issue the next time it comes up, or even a solution for why certain issues keep occurring with this product.

If all else fails, sincerely apologize for the faulty product or service. This may not solve their problem, but it will stop the spread of bad comments about the business itself.


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