10 customer service tips for handling upset customers

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Customer service representatives do not have an easy job.

handling upset customer

Handling upset customers requires patience, poise and sincerity.

No matter how few customer complaints come in or how well a company responds to them, upset customers can derail the day. Their concerns may be legitimate; unrelated circumstances may be fueling their anger; they simply may want to be heard.

All those factors and others could be in play. In a way it doesn’t matter because improving the situation with an upset customer, not allowing it to deteriorate, is the goal.

We’ve put together 10 customer service tips for those tough calls.

In handling upset customers:

  1. Stay calm.
  2. Remain diplomatic and polite. Anger only breeds more anger.
  3. Try to see things from the customer’s perspective.
  4. Sincerely thank the person for raising the concern. Stress the importance of satisfied customers to you and your organization.
  5. Listen for understanding. An irate caller may want someone to listen, even if you cannot help.
  6. Ask questions to get at facts and feelings. Listen to learn and don’t respond too quickly.
  7. Find points of agreement. Establish common ground to show the person you are listening.
  8. Show a willingness to resolve the problem or conflict.
  9. Be genuine and respond as an understanding friend, not a robot citing policies.
  10. Be firm but understanding with your answers. Offer to have your supervisor talk to the caller as a last resort. Sometimes hearing the same thing from someone else has a positive effect on an upset customer.

Employees who interact with customers and clients are the “face” of the company, even over the phone. How they respond in handling upset customers can cost customer loyalty – or create new brand champions.

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