It’s bound to happen: an angry phone call from an upset customer. By the time an upset customer reaches you on the phone, they are most likely ready to vent their frustrations on you. The most important thing to do when you are the receiving end of an upset customer’s frustrations is to remain calm and try to help. It can be difficult if a customer is unnecessarily rude, but there are ways to keep yourself calm and manage this difficult situation so that you both come out of the conversation feeling as satisfied as possible.
- Remain calm. The best thing you can do to provide the best experience for the customer, as well as for yourself, is to remain calm. No matter how upset your customer is acting upset back will do nothing to help the situation. Oftentimes, the customer just needs someone to vent to. Keeping a friendly and helpful demeanor can help to control the situation. And remember: it’s not personal. No matter how rude your customer may be, their comments are borne out of frustration and have nothing to do with you personally. Keep this in mind to maintain your calm state of mind.
- Listen attentively. While the customer is venting their frustrations, remember to listen. It may help you to remain calm by zoning out as the customer is speaking, but it won’t help in the long run if you cannot at least make an attempt to solve their problem. By listening, you may even be able to offer them a simple solution that turns their mood and has them leaving the conversation with a good impression. Listening to their problems is the most effective way to diffuse an angry customer. Even if you can’t solve their problem, the fact that you listened and made an earnest attempt to help can change a customer’s mood and result in a positive customer service experience.
- Apologize gracefully. Whether the customer’s complaint is legitimate or not, the most important thing is that you apologize gracefully and show the customer that you sympathize with them and are working actively to help them. No matter how you are feeling, if you project sympathy and respect for the customer, they are more likely to become a returning customer. Many times, an upset customer is just looking for vindication about their situation. One simple apology, such as “I’m sorry you were inconvenienced; let’s see what we can do to find a solution”, can make the customer feel taken care of.
- Take a breather. After an especially stressful conversation with an upset customer, even if you were as professional as possible and the customer left satisfied, you may still need a moment to collect yourself before talking to the next customer. Take a moment to go for a short walk or talk to another employee about the experience. Internalizing your stress can lead to bigger problems down the road. It’s best to take care of yourself so that you can provide the best customer service experience possible, both for your customers as well as for yourself.
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