Speaking with someone who’s upset? Keep the situation as calm as possible.
If you’re on the front lines of your company’s customer service efforts, chances are you’re going to be interacting with angry customers from time to time. No matter how much a company cares about its customers, there are going to be times when mistakes are made or unreasonable people need to be dealt with. It’s simply a part of the customer service job. Here are four tricks for talking down angry customers in order to save both sales and your sanity.
- Apologize: The power of a simple “I’m sorry that happened to you” can work wonders. It doesn’t look like your company messed up; it looks like you actually care about the person you’re speaking to. Even if something wasn’t your fault—like if they simply didn’t understand what the product was for—just apologize for the inconvenience they’ve encountered. You’d be surprised at how often a simple I’m sorry defuses the entire situation.
- Use their name: By repeating the customer’s name a few times, you’ll remind them that you’re two people speaking to each other. They’re much less likely to be angry at a human being than a robot, and it will help solidify the fact that you want them to be known and understood. Ask for their name immediately upon answering the call.
- Ask questions: Try to get specific as possible when attempting to understand what went wrong. It’ll demonstrate that you care about the situation, but it will also bring a bit of calm to a frustrating moment. If the customer can take a deep breath, slow down, and get a platform to explain themselves without feeling interrupted or judged, they’re much more likely to provide you with useful information. The goal is to solve the problem, and the best way to do that is by understanding what exactly the problem is.
- Focus on your breathing. If a customer is truly berating you, making it through a verbal beating can be tough. It’s easy to get emotional and have the urge to snap back or argue with them. Focus on simple, in-and-out breaths to direct your energy and keep yourself calm. The worst possible outcome is for you to get upset and escalate the situation beyond repair. It’s pretty “woo-woo”, but if you pay attention to your own posture, tone of voice, and breathing, you’ll be able to bring peace into a situation instead of being consumed by chaos.