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Customer Service Mindset When Facing Angry Customers

Updated on January 9, 2014
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I'm a dad, husband, and Christian first. Second, I'm an educator and organizational development professional.

How do you deal with the wrath of an angry customer?
How do you deal with the wrath of an angry customer? | Source

Facing an irate customer can be a daunting task. Even a seasoned customer service representative can buckle under pressure. This underscores the importance of the proper customer service training to handle difficult situations like an angry customer.

Learning how to deal with angry customers should be part of any customer service training before any job deployment. This ensures that they are equipped with the right skills in such a difficult situation. But the truth is no amount of training can truly prepare someone for the barrage of tactless words – and in some cases dangerous behaviors.

This is not personal

Although the rude words are directed at you, remember that this is not a personal attack. Of course if the reason is something you did (or forgot to do) then that’s a different matter. But generally, angry customers are complaining about their situation.

The moment you detach yourself from the person’s anger, the easier it is for you to manage and resolve the situation.

Excellent customer service strategy:

  • Focus on the client’s need
  • Unravel the root cause of the concern
  • Focus on resolving issues rather than dwelling on rude choices of words
  • Communicate clearly

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Have the genuine desire to help and resolve the problem

A customer service representative with the genuine desire to help has a better chance of resolving customer complaints. The innate desire to provide customer assistance is the basic fuel to go beyond what is expected. In addition, going beyond expectation is the true measure of excellent customer service.

Excellent customer service strategy:

  • Explore alternative tactics to resolve customer complaints
  • Ask help from other co-workers when needed
  • Understand that resolving issues will help improve customer satisfaction
  • Apologize for the inconvenience that the customer is experiencing
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Show sincerity to resolve the concern

Be calm
Be calm | Source

Be calm and patient always

Learning how to deal with angry customers require learning how to be calm and patient. Unfortunately, this is not inherent in many people. However, with a little practice one can actually exhibit restrain and a level head to deal with the situation effectively.

Excellent customer service strategy:

  • Speak calmly and slowly
  • Maintain a neutral tone – avoid high-pitch tones that can be misconstrued as aggression
  • Listen attentively
  • Focus on important information and not on rude words or gestures

How do you manage your anger?

See results

Be proactive, not defensive

Being defensive is a common reaction when confronted with an angry customer. In many cases, customer service representatives give excuses to justify what has happened. Instead opt for a more proactive attitude.

Excellent customer service strategy:

  • Ask what the customer wants
  • Offer solutions rather than excuses
  • Suggest alternative action plans you are willing to do for the customer
  • Explain what you intend to do so the customer will understand and know what to expect
  • Give a timeframe (when possible) for your actions and outputs
  • Endorse the customer to someone who can address their concern if you are not equipped to provide the solution
  • Ask relevant questions to get more information
  • Take note of important details and summarize it for clarification

The survival of a customer service representative and the ultimate resolution of customer complaints depends on the representative’s mindset. When customer service representatives know how to deal with angry customers, business will prosper.

Of course, not every customer can be pleased. Moreover, not all customer complaints can be fully resolved. What is important is that customer service representatives acquire the right mindset when dealing with irate customers. This will help turn a potentially volatile situation into a full-blown crisis.


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