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The Dreaded Call: 5 Proven Ways to Deal With Angry Customers



One of the biggest challenges experienced by any customer service representative is a call from an angry customer. This is because diffusing a tense situation takes a lot of patience and skill. If you don’t know how to keep your emotions in check while attending to them, you could just as easily lose your cool and end up in a nasty phone argument that could put your job at risk!

We can hope to live in a world where hostile conversations are non-existent, but just the same, it’s good to know proven tips and tricks to deal with these irate customers so you won’t be rattled when you unexpectedly find yourself in such a position.

Depending on how a customer service representative handles these calls, the company will either have a more loyal customer, or lose him or her forever.

Here are some proven ways to deal with angry customers:

1. Stay calm even if they are not

You’d be making a big mistake if you immediately talk back to a disgruntled customer. While it is definitely not okay to be rude to another person, this industry can more or less expect such angry calls due to some lapses on products and services.

The goal is for the customer service representatives to deal with it effectively, remove the customer’s frustration/s, and give them an experience that will make them feel that it’s worth it to do business with the company again.

How does an agent stay calm then?

  • The customer service representative should use the right tone of voice because trust us, it makes all the difference. You don’t want the customer to think that you are not taking them seriously, or worse, mocking them.
  • Next, an agent needs to know that whatever the angry customer says shouldn’t be taken personally (yes, even when it sometimes feels like the opposite sometimes). By doing so, then you will have the mindset that you are there to address the issue, and not to bicker with them. This can help you stay calm and courteous throughout the call.

2. Apologize for the inconvenience

Customers won’t really take the time to call the company hotline, and be put on hold for minutes unless they are given a reason to. When they express their sentiment and dissatisfaction, a good customer service representative would sympathize with them, and apologize for the inconvenience it has caused.

Of course they are trained to provide remedies or solutions, but it would make the customer feel better to know that the “company” is truly sorry for its lapses, than just outright declaring that it is willing to make things right.

For instance, here’s what a good rep would say, ” Hello [name], I understand you’ve had several issues we haven’t fully resolved. I understand the frustration and I would like to sincerely apologize. We always prioritize in putting our customers first, and we’ve failed to do it this time.”

3. Offer concrete solutions and manage their expectations

After apologizing, the next thing to do is to offer concrete solutions with a timeline. The main point of attending to the call was to diffuse the situation before it really gets out of hand.

Now that you discovered the issue about the customer, redirect the conversation back to the main problem, and provide solution/s. It also helps to manage their expectations as to how long it would take to get things done, instead of giving them vague and empty responses like “A company representative will reach out to you SOON.”

4. Respond appropriately and quickly by referring to a pre-written script

The last thing you want is to say or do something that could potentially bring more harm than good to the conversation. It helps to have a handy script that customer service representatives could refer to when dealing with an angry customer.

A pre-written script should have all the possible concerns and solutions so the agent could respond appropriately and quickly to the irate customer. The customer may be on his or her last straw, and one irrelevant answer or a long hold time from the call may cause him or her to get more agitated.

5. Be sincere and give them reassurance

An angry customer hates it when they feel like they are simply just another “call.” They are already on the verge of ending ties with the company because of the inconvenience or bad experience they had. A winning customer service representative would know that it’s only proper to be sincere and give them reassurance that they are on top of things, particularly, that customer’s!

A simple line you could say to offer reassurance, and that you are taking ownership of the issue is something like this: “Hi [name], I’ve taken some notes on our conversation, and rest assured that your issues of [issue/s] will be closely monitored from this day forward. Our solution for this is to [provide recap]. I have your number on file so that we can follow up directly. Please let me know if I missed anything or if there is any other request that you would like me to include.”

Once you’re done with the call, it’s also important to take each one as a learning experience and do a complete analysis so you know how to respond more effectively the next time around.

Take into account questions like:

  • “Was I able to diffuse the tension or appease the angry customer?”
  • “Was there anything else that I could have done differently to avoid him or her from getting more enraged?”
  • “What tactics proved to deliver the best outcome?”
  • “Was I able to offer the best solution for the problem?”

By doing so, you would be more mindful of the next call, and be able to handle it better!

Interacting with angry callers is part of the job of a customer service representative. It will ultimately influence how customers perceive the after-sales service of the company, as well as their willingness to do more transactions in the future.

By using these ways to handle an angry caller, you would be able to improve not just the experience, but the relationship with the customers.

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