How To Bring Calm to a Difficult Customer Effectively

By Glenn Pasch

Imag­ine you have a cus­tomer on the phone or right in front of you and they are not hap­py. This cus­tomer is look­ing for some­one to help them. You feel that you are on the edge of a poten­tial scene if you do not han­dle this cor­rect­ly but you are not sure what steps to fol­low to bring a calm pos­i­tive res­o­lu­tion to the sit­u­a­tion.

Fol­low­ing these sim­ple steps will not only give them great cus­tomer ser­vice but also give both par­ties a solu­tion that is accept­able.

• You can’t out yell a yeller.
Take your cue from mar­tial arts. If some­one comes at you with strength, move aside and let them pass. In this case, let them raise their voice and you low­er yours. Become still and focus on them. This will have the effect of rais­ing their aware­ness that they are the only one yelling. Once they real­ize they are the only one scream­ing, they will imme­di­ate­ly drop their vol­ume to match yours and don’t be sur­prised if they apol­o­gize and now you have con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion.

• Acknowl­edge their prob­lem.

Peo­ple want to be heard.  First tell them that you are sor­ry they encoun­tered this prob­lem and how you can see how this would be frus­trat­ing. By telling them you heard what they said and repeat­ing back their issue, it gives the cus­tomer a sense of com­fort that you under­stand and that puts you in con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion.

• Tell them what you can d0, not what you can’t do.
Focus­ing on what you can’t do increas­es the frus­tra­tion of the cus­tomer because now they are focused on their time being wast­ed by some­one who can­not solve their prob­lem.  Keep it mov­ing for­ward by focus­ing on what you can do.

• Out­line the solu­tion.
When peo­ple know what is hap­pen­ing they are more relaxed. Uncer­tain­ty fuels emo­tions. Once you have a solu­tion for the prob­lem, take the time to out­line what will hap­pen, espe­cial­ly if the cus­tomer is required to do some­thing.

• Apol­o­gize that this hap­pened and offer your con­tact infor­ma­tion.
As you close the con­ver­sa­tion, take a moment to apol­o­gize for the com­pa­ny that the cus­tomer had to take time out of their day to deal with this. Most of the time busi­ness­es apol­o­gize for the prod­uct or ser­vice, but in real­i­ty, the cus­tomer is more upset because this is tak­ing time from doing things they would pre­fer to do.

Last­ly, take own­er­ship of the solu­tion and give them your con­tact infor­ma­tion.  You will stand out from oth­er busi­ness­es who would just send them back to a sup­port line with some­one who does not know their case.

Glenn Pasch is the cur­rent COO of PCG Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing as well as a writer, Nation­al Speak­er and Train­er.




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