The information you sent me is wrong! What’s the matter with you people? Can’t you read?”
“My bill isn’t RIGHT! And this is NOT the first time, either! You all NEVER get anything right!”
“I WANT MY MONEY BACK, AND I WANT IT NOW! I AM SICK AND TIRED OF ALL YOUR MISTAKES, AND I’M TELLING EVERYBODY I KNOW HOW YOU ALL REALLY ARE!”
Irate, rude, unhappy, and sometimes abrasive customers can drain you emotionally. No matter what product your company sells or the service your business offers, you will inevitably encounter angry customers from time to time. Customers get rude or angry for a variety of reasons—some justified, some not. Now since you’re in business, you’ll likely encounter rude or angry individuals at one time or another. The negativity seeping through the phone lines and computer screens is no doubt the hardest part of the job. The bad news: there will always be angry customers. The good news: you can learn to effectively handle these situations and calm customers down.
Here are tips for coping with a tense situation and hopefully resolving it to everyone’s satisfaction;
- Remain calm
When a customer starts yelling or being otherwise rude, there is nothing to be gained by responding similarly, rather staying calm and letting the customer finish venting out is the best way to deescalate the situation.
- Listening skills
It’s human nature to defend ourselves against accusations. Fight against this urge. Let your customer tell her story without interruption. Don’t make excuses, even if they are valid. Don’t invent reasons. Don’t give reasons that are perfectly true and good. Don’t tell your side of the story at all. Let them finish speaking before responding. Once the customer is done, assure him or her that you understand the problem and will help them resolve the situation.
- Don’t sound “scripted”
You should never sound like you are reading talking points from a script when responding. This will only further upset the customer. Make sure your response is genuine and reflects the customer’s unique needs.
- Apologize gracefully
APOLOGIZE for the problem and acknowledge the customer’s feelings. Don’t let the customer confuse your calm confidence with disinterest or indifference. Be sure you’re sincere and not just mouthing the words, which could be an easy trap to fall into at the end of the day. When you say, “I am sorry that happened,” be sure to mean it.
- Nothing is personal
Remember, the customer is not angry with you, they are displeased with the performance of your product or the quality of the service you provide.
The goal isn’t to win the argument. The goal isn’t to save as much money as possible. That doesn’t mean you have to give in to unreasonable demands, break company policy, or ignore common sense in order to make your customer happy. It does mean that your job is to figure out what, in this particular situation, your customer is really looking for. Handling angry callers is never fun—but with the right approach you can turn the situation around, to a positive end.