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Agent Perspective: How to Handle an Angry Customer

You know that moment when you take the next call only to be greeted with less-than-friendly (or even offensive) words from a frustrated, angry customer?

How do you react?

Do you:

 A. Hang up the phone, clock out and leave your badge on the desk.

 B. Adjust your tone to reflect that of the customer. 

C. Reassure the customer that you are here to help.

As satisfying or tempting as it may seem to go with option A, or B, it’s pretty obvious that C is the best choice.  So, how do you turn a frustrated customer into a satisfied customer?  

Technology has changed the mindset of the average customer.  We all want a Burger King experience.  “Hold the pickles, Hold the lettuce Special orders don't upset us, all we ask is that you let us, Serve you your way.”

Customers don’t want to hear excuses, just solutions. It is imperative that as Customer Service Agents we put ourselves in the customer’s shoes.   

Here are some tips for turning a frustrated customer into a satisfied customer.

1. Breathe.

It is best to approach a hostile issue when you are calm and have a clear head.  

2. Greet the customer in friendly manner.

Hello my name is________ how may I assist you?

Your tone helps set the tone for the remainder of the conversation.

3. Reassure the customer that you are willing to help.

Greeting the customer and the acknowledging the issue reassures them that you are ready to assist.

4. Listen! Listen! Without interrupting or reacting.

Interrupting the customer may come across as combative. Remember you cannot listen when your mouth is moving, and you cannot solve the problem if you don’t know what it is.

5. Stay focused on the issue. Do not escalate a personal attack.

Remember that the customer is in need of your assistance.  As cliché as it may sound, the customer isn’t angry at you.  

6. Remain cheerful and respectful.

Throughout your interaction with the customer maintain a professional image. Refrain from using condescending tones and replies. 

7. Follow through. 

Under promise and over deliver! 

What advice do you have for keeping your cool during a stressful call?  Share your tips and thoughts in the comments.