If you work in a call center you’re bound to run into an irate customer at one point or another. When you do, that particular moment in time may make you flustered and at a loss for words, but there are a few things you need to remember about irate customers; they’re like normal customers, just upset. This guide is designed to help the customer service worker deal with irate customers.
Whether you’re a new employee or a seasoned veteran, being confronted by an irate customer can completely throw you off your game. No matter how uncomfortable the customer is making you, now is your time to shine as a customer service representative. The first step is to let the customer speak, so you can ascertain why the customer is upset. A few customers will be angry and rude just for the sake of being mean, but the majority will confront you with an actual issue that has yielded in frustration. Once you understand the reason they’re upset, you’ll be better equipped to diffuse the situation.
The next step is to control the situation. You’ve let the customer talk about everything from how they were overcharged to how their coffee spilled that morning. Now that you understand the issue, the time for ranting is over. You need to take control of the situation as politely as possible, so that you can begin working toward a resolution. You must be able to have your words ready as soon as the customer gives you a chance to speak. If the customer pauses expectantly, you can say something such as “I understand that you are frustrated. Let’s see if we can take care of this for you today”. This will let the customer know that they have been heard, and that you’re willing to assist them with the issue. However, avoid phrases such as “I apologize for the inconvenience,” as this may sound too scripted to the customer.
In most cases, the customer will have calmed down upon hearing that a resolution will be put into place, so this may help the rest of the interaction be rather smooth. Though the situation has been diffused, you still need to reach a resolution that the customer will be satisfied with. If the issue is something you’re able to resolve then great, try to accomplish it in a timely manner. Otherwise, speak with your manager or supervisor to see how you can best meet the customer’s expectations, then return to the customer with the proposed resolution. Customers tend to be much more cooperative once management gets involved. At this point, the customer will most likely accept the resolution and be on his or her way, and everything will return to normal.
Being confronted by an irate customer doesn’t have to be intimidating or nerve-wracking. After all, their anger isn’t necessarily directed at you. If you follow a de-escalation or diffusion process and work toward a helpful resolution, there’s no reason why this customer interaction has to be different from any other one.
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