Dealing with Difficult Customers

For both sales executives and call center agents, its unavoidable to encounter the Angry Customer at least once in the course of their profession.

These are the customers who will scream, make a scene, shout obscenities, suggest you do physically or anatomically impossible things, insult your whole family line, and will generally cause a business disruption instead of resolving the issue quietly and rationally.

When confronted with such a monster, it gets increasingly difficult to stay calm in the face of such outright insult to your human dignity. Unfortunately, your profession demands it, your boss demands it, and your appearance as a the morally superior person calls for it.

To help you in such a situation, here’s what you can do:

Keep your cool

Even if the customer has crossed the limits of good taste and started insulting your mother, stay calm. Becoming as angry as the offender will only make things worse and lead nowhere. Sure, it will feel good to suggest that his mom is even fatter than yours, entire planets are trapped in her gravity. However, it will also bring you down to the customer’s level and make the two of you look like juvenile idiots.

Talk in a clear and steady voice

No matter what happens, the level and cadence of your voice should stay normal. Do not raise your voice, or else your anger will show through and get the better of you. By the same token, do not keep it so low either that you sound like a meek and cowering rabbit.

A steady and rational voice indicates that you are in command of the situation, unlike the screaming and blubbering puffer fish in front of you.

Get to the root of the problem

The customer may scream, throw tantrums and even jump up and down ala Tom Cruise. Whatever antics he does, stay focused on the problem. Your job is to get it sorted as quickly as possible. Whether it’s a problem with web design help, a factory defect, or an issue with the dress they just bought from the store, always bring the issue to the forefront and avoid getting swept up in the argument.

Show empathy

We realize it’s next to impossible to show empathy for a creature who is doing his best to provoke you. Take the moral high ground. By showing sympathy and using soothing words, you not only help lower the tension, you also look better in the eyes of other customers and your own colleagues. This can help drum up business for your company, and of course lead to a commendation from your boss.

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