One thing is inevitable if you work in customer service—you’re going to come across an angry customer at some point. What isn’t certain is how that customer is going to feel by the end of the phone call.
However, how you, as the customer service agent, handle the situation can determine their fate. By the end of the conversation, a good customer service agent will diffuse the situation and leave the customer feeling better than when they started. To help your team, here are a few things your team can try when dealing with angry customers.
Maintain Composure and Stay Calm
First things first, when you answer the phone to an irate, angry customer, stay calm and maintain your composure. Reacting with emotion can only escalate the situation, and can even make it more difficult for you to focus on helping the customer.
And always remember you can’t take it personal if they don’t know you personally. So getting equally heated will only prolong the situation and can make your job as the helper more stressful than it ever has to be.
Practice Active or Reflective Listening
Active listening means genuinely listening to what the customer is saying, through their anger or dismay. Reflective listening helps even more—rather than saying “I understand, but let me say this…, repeat back what the customer said and relate it to how you will reach a resolution.
Understand that some people may contact you already expecting to be treated poorly, or they’ve already attempted to call other customer service numbers to no avail. They also may feel very emotional when having to confront people, so if you can be sensitive to the reasons they may be angry, it can help them feel heard and understood.
Utilize the Resources in Front of You
When a customer calls and their emotions have already escalated the conversation, you have a few things at your disposal to help immediately. One tactic is putting the customer on hold. This can give them a moment to calm down, and you can take a moment to gather yourself as well to approach the situation from the right angle.
Customers may also appreciate screen sharing if they are on their computer. They’ll be able to see what you are doing to solve their problem, and they can see for themselves your effort to help them.
Lastly, customers may appreciate a second opinion. Reaching out to your colleagues for support on the problem can help to calm down the customer and show them your team is making a joint effort to help them.
Thank Them for Bringing the Issue to Your Attention
An angry customer may find some ease in that what they are bringing up can actually help future customers get help faster and more efficiently. Maybe the reason they are feeling hopeless about it is that they have a uniquely complicated issue, and no one has been able to be resolved quickly.
But, if they know that they did the right thing calling you to call out the issue, it may ease their frustration, knowing they were one of the first people to have the issue. If they calm down and you can get some valuable feedback and information from them to help others, they could receive an incentive for helping to improve your process. Calling out new issues means other customers may not have to deal with the same problem, and if they do, you will know precisely how to handle it. It’s a win-win!
Break Up the Customer’s Issue Into Smaller, More Manageable Issues
The angry customer called for one reason, and one reason only—to find a solid resolution to their problem. Maybe the problem they have is more complicated than a simple 1 to 1 resolution.
It is your job as the representative to walk the customer through each step, in detail, of how you plan to fix their issue. By doing so, you will alleviate the problem and help them avoid it in the future. Everyone just wants to feel supported and know that you know what you’re doing in your role as the customer service agent.
It can be very easy to tell the customer that you will fix the problem for them immediately. But that may not be enough, and may not sound sincere. Sincerity can shine through when you can show some transparency in the work you are doing. Set by example and go through the steps you are putting in place to fix the problem in a professional, well thought out plan.
At Customer Traac, we have heard it all. And, we make it our mission to always leave our customers and clients satisfied with the help we’ve provided—this includes angry, upset customers. We are masters at diffusing the situation and empathize with our fellow customer service agents who must do the same. For more information on how we can support your dealership in handling these unfortunate customers, give us a call at (763) 553-2989.