Customer Experience

3 Key Phrases for Talking Down an Angry Customer

Working a call center during this difficult time? Buckle up—it may be a bumpy ride.

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Customer call centers are a vital part of many companies’ business models. They’re a convenient way to serve customers, particularly at times when the need is high. During a time of crisis, customers are probably under a particularly large amount of stress, and some conversations may get tense quickly. Here are three key phrases for talking down an angry customer in order to save a sale and create a win-win situation.

I’m So Sorry About Your Experience

This is a simple phrase that packs a powerful punch. You may not feel like an apology is warranted, but here’s the thing—even if a customer’s screw-up was entirely his or her own fault, they’re still in a pickle. As a member of the company they purchased from, or even just as a member of the human race, you should at least have empathy that he or she is in a less-than-desirable situation.  You don’t need to apologize for something the company didn’t do, but a simple apology that he or she is experiencing something negative is still a good thing.

Let Me Make Sure I Understand You, NAME

People want to know that they’re being heard. By repeating back to a customer something he or she has said, you’re demonstrating that you were truly listening and that you’re so invested in this problem that you want to make sure you have things 100% correct before moving forward. Moreover, using someone’s name is a powerful force of connection, even though it feels like a miniscule thing to do. It helps the customer understand that you’re paying attention and it helps you remember that he or she is a human being, not just a voice on the other end of the phone.

Here’s What I’m Going to Do

By clearly identifying action steps, you’re showing that the company wants to take concrete movements to better this problem. Are those steps exactly what the customer wants? Not always. But even if you need to call them back, or pass them onto a manager, specifically identifying what you’re going to do next keeps everyone on the same page and helps the customer know that things are happening. Nobody likes to feel ignored, or as if they’re not getting anywhere. Letting the customer know the next plan of action will allow them to concentrate on getting the issue solved and not have to worry that you’re just going to drop them.