‘Customers don’t call with compliments, they call with complaints.’ – Mike Aoki
Customer service agents should get used to dealing with irate customers because that’s their main job – to help customers with their problems. If you get a call from someone who sounds angry, do not despair; do not be threatened by the customer’s raised voice, instead devise a plan that can make the situation better.
Irate customers express their frustration by aiming their complaints to whomever agent answers their call. It is a natural reaction for anyone to want to get angry in return, but as a professional you shouldn’t let that happen. The following are useful tips on how you can effectively handle irate customers without losing your composure.
Don’t Take It Personally
When speaking with irate customers, always remember that they are not mad at you; they are upset about their situation. Customers know that you did not cause their problem so just allow them to vent without taking it personally. Acknowledge their right to be upset and focus on the customer’s needs.
Don’t Argue Back
When a customer expresses their frustration, let them vent without interrupting – doing so will only make them angrier. Some customers tend to take things too far, but as a customer service specialist you should never argue back. If a customer starts to become verbally abusive, be a better person and just allow the customer to vent, be silent and wait for your cue. The customer usually will ask “Are you still there?” You should respond with a pleasant “Yes”. Now you can restate to the customer what they said but in a more positive manner leaving out all the negatives and abusive words. Restating what the customer said shows the customer you were listening. Many customers become calmer and are open to solutions when their frustrations are being acknowledged. Use emphatic phrases to help defuse your customer such as “I’m sorry to hear about your situation…” and “I want to help you….”
Be Patient with Irate Customers
Each customer has a different concern, be patient and understand that some customers are more frustrated than the others. If a customer refuses to calm down, retaliate with kindness – be respectful and express genuine empathy for their situation. It is quite challenging to remain calm during interactions with irate customers but you have to remain in control; find a way to divert your conversation to a happy resolution by helping the customer focus on their needs.
Apologize Whenever Appropriate
Always acknowledge your customer’s feelings and apologize whenever it’s necessary. Apologizing does not necessarily mean that you agree with them, but it shows that you emphasize with what they are going through. It’s difficult to sound sincere when you are also trying to maintain your composure, but you need to in order to help calm your customer. Here are some ways that you can apologize to your customer:
- I apologize that you feel that way about your purchase. Let’s find a way to make things better.
- I’m sorry for the delay in delivering your purchase. Allow me to see what I can do to make it up to you.
- I understand that you are frustrated about the situation. I want to help you.