5 Tips for Dealing with Angry Customers

angrycallerHow do I put this nicely…

…while we strive to go above and beyond for our customers, help resolve problems and be as kind as possible…some people return to us with…well, NOT kindness. They are so ridiculously mean to the representative that is working to help them. And, when on the phone, it seems easier for customers to show anger due to the lack of personal face to face connection. But, what does this do for us in the long run? I know I hang up the phone and just want to run to the top of a hill and scream. And, perhaps there’s nothing wrong with that.

So, to deal with my frustration of having to work with customers that are not so nice, here are 5 tips to make sure that YOU are still in a good place, while still helping get the customer what they want:

  1. Minimize Distraction: One of the worst things you could do during an angry customer call is multitask. Cut out everything you are doing in the background and put focus on this customer, even if they are being a total jerk. That way, you won’t miss any important points of the conversation, they will begin to trust that you are listening to them and the resolution to their issue may come sooner than later.
  2. Don’t Take it Personally: It’s super hard to do, even when you know better, but taking their angry words and allowing them to affect you does not give any benefit to this already out of control situation. Take a jump over to my post Customer Service Wisdom: Don’t Take it Personally and read more about how to make this happen for you. It’s like putting on a suit of armor!
  3. Remember to Breathe: Sounds silly but don’t forget to do this! If you need to put the customer on hold for a brief moment to gather your thoughts and breath, do it. Take a few deep breaths, with your eyes closed and then resume the call. And, while taking the deep breaths, picture yourself standing on the top of a hill, yelling at the top of your lungs.
  4. Set Boundaries: Is this customer just being mean or are they being abusive? If they begin to threaten you or your coworkers in any way, set boundaries with the customer by saying, “If you continue to threaten/speak that way to me/my coworkers, I will terminate this call.
  5. Recovery Time: After your situation with the angry customer is over, if you can get away from your desk, do it! Go for a walk outside, talk to a coworker at another desk, run to the top of a hill and scream or just sit in a quiet room and take a few more deep breaths. If you must jump  into more calls with customers right after this, make sure that when your break time does come, that you take extra care of yourself.

It’s not easy, I’ll say that. These tips are helpful guidelines to follow but I know that when you are in the middle of that situation, it’s extremely difficult to not be defensive.

So, hang in there and…remember to breathe!

[custom_author=jenny]

Jenny Dempsey is the Social Media and Customer Experience Manager for NumberBarn.com. With over a decade of customer service experience, Jenny has been recognized through social media channels as a thought leader. She is co-founder and a regular contributor on the Customer Service Life. When she's not helping or singing to customers, she is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, coaching clients over at her side passion project, JennyDempseyWellness.com.

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