Angry Customers: 3 Steps Customer Service Reps Can Take To Deal With Aggressive Calls

WRITTEN March 7, 2019 Author: Michelle LaFiura

We’ve all dealt with angry customers.

Whether you run a business or just work there, chances are if you’ve ever held a job that deals with customers, you’ve dealt with a frustrated customer.

Whatever the circumstance, there are steps any customer service representative can take to deal with a heated situation in business (or any other area of life that might involve conflict). When people confront you and your business, here are a few steps to find a compromise.

  1. Identify Their Emotions
    Here’s the situation: the phone rings and before you can even say, “hello,” somebody is screaming at you on the other end. This is NOT the time to tell the other person to calm down. Instead, use it as an opportunity to align yourself with the customer and sympathize with their emotions. You can say something like, “I understand you’re feeling angry and frustrated. I’ve taken a deep breath and I hope you have too.”
  2. Ask Questions
    Now that you’ve given them a moment to yell as well as validated their anger, you can move on to step 2, which is to ask questions. This is the point where you want to further calm them down by encouraging the caller to talk and think.  You can continue by asking the details of the situation and saying, “what can we do to make this situation right?”
  3. Get Them Thinking
    Finally, you can further de-escalate the situation by seeking solutions. What are the details of the situation? What vital information can they give you that might give you further insight for how to handle it? If somebody has to pause to look up an account number or think about the details, it’s going to lower their level of emotional intensity. The more you get them thinking, talking, and speaking with rationality, the more progress you can make with the call.

It all leads to the end goal of standing on the same page and working to find common ground. Every situation is different, but these steps will often work when somebody wants to find a solution.

Take a look at the video below to see our instructor Rich Atkins speaking on the subject at a recent training. If you would like to sign up for a training, please visit our public classes page.



Learn more about Customer Service Skills or other tools for your life – see our public class list for our upcoming seminars.


Other Resources:

4 Brilliant Tips for Dealing with Angry Customers

17 Ways to Deal with Unhappy Customers


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