- Remain calm. The number one rule of customer service is to never lose your temper with a customer, no matter how rude he is being. Losing your temper with the customer will only escalate the situation, and could quickly result in your termination. Take a deep breath, drawing air in and out from your diaphragm instead of your chest. Deep breaths taken from the stomach help relax the body, even during stressful situations. Imagine something relaxing. It can be a place you’ve been or an entirely imaginary situation, but visualizing someplace or something that helps you relax can calm your racing thoughts and help you remain calm
- Don’t take insults personally. This can be tricky for some people, especially those who tend to internalize criticism. The key is to remember that no matter what the customer is actually saying, the real cause of his problem has nothing to do with you as a person. He is most likely upset about the product he’s purchased or the service he expected. It’s entirely possible that the customer had unreasonable expectations to begin with, or perhaps there was a simple error made that has momentarily upset him. Focus on resolving the issue, rather than focusing on feeling hurt or insulted. Repeat a calming mantra to yourself internally. Something that will help center you and keep you calm would be key. Try thinking to yourself, “This is not my fault. He isn’t mad at me, and it’s not about me.” It can help remind you that you haven’t necessarily done anything wrong, and that the customer’s temper will eventually pass.
- Listen and learn what the real issue is. If a customer is being rude to you, it’s possible that you or a coworker made a mistake. Or perhaps the customer did not get something he was supposed to get. Whether or not the customer’s behavior is appropriate to the situation, the key is to listen and try to understand what that actual situation is. It can be difficult to listen to an irate customer screaming obscenities at you, but beneath all that anger there is a problem that, most likely, you or a coworker can resolve. Tune out the customer’s bad attitude, and zero in on the problem that is causing his bad behavior. Rather than making statements about the issue, stick to asking questions. This shows the customer that you’re not being resistant to his complaint, and in answering your questions he may come to realize that there has been some sort of misunderstanding. Try to ignore whatever insulting or rude things the customer is saying, and focus on what his actual complaint is. If he isn’t making his complaint clear, ask him politely but firmly, “Sir, I’m not following what the issue is. What can I do to help you today?” Try asking something like, “What were your expectations?” and follow that question with a polite “Why did you have those expectations?” This should be done carefully, as asking these questions without a calm and polite tone could come across as flippant. But these questions may help get to the root of the problem – for example, perhaps the customer misread an advertisement, or misunderstood what was being offered. You may need to state the reason for your stance on the issue. This is fine, but make sure you stick to the issue and your reasoning without attacking the customer or his logic. Calling his logic or his character into question will only escalate the situation and make him more difficult to deal with.
- Speak low and slow. If a customer is getting increasingly irate, try lowering your voice and talking slower. This can have a somewhat soothing effect, and it also communicates to the customer that you are being firm and professional. It’s important to consciously monitor your own tone and volume, because if you let yourself grow irate back at the customer it will only make things worse. If your correspondence with the customer is by email, take a few moments to center yourself before responding to the email. Take a few deep breaths, focus on something that makes you happy, and compose the email only after you’ve composed yourself.
HR & Training Dept