Frontline staff encounter difficult customer service situations every day, the most challenging of which is handling irate customers. Some of these angry customers vent out their anger by yelling and threatening your frontline staff. In such critical situations, staying calm and setting things right can be a tough task. While dealing with angry customers in person, your CSRs should always maintain a calm and empathetic attitude. Giving angry customers a gesture that you are listening to their grievances is likely to make them feel better. Offering instant solution to their complaints would also rectify negative experiences. Here are some tips for frontline staff to handle irate customers!
Respond in a Calm and Apologetic Manner
The first and most important tip while dealing with irate customers is to respond in a calm and apologetic manner. At times it is very difficult to keep a cool head when a customer is extremely rude and CSRs need to be trained to always handle such situations with patience. Along with a formal apology, listen to these customers attentively and don’t interrupt in the middle. Make irate customers feel that you understand their emotions and anger, let customers vent out their feelings by letting them say everything. You can then respond in a rational and relaxed manner by making them feel that you are eager to help them out.
Empathize and Keep Your Body Language Positive
Empathy is one of the essential skills required when dealing with irate customers. While handling angry and frustrated customers, you should put yourself in their shoes and understand how they are feeling. Use empathetic words and gestures in your conversation. Tell them that you can relate to their situation. Always keep your body language positive while talking to an irate customer, maintain proper eye contact, don’t fold your arms and make sure that your face expressions are not tense. Your hand and body movements should convey a gesture that you really want to resolve the issue.
Be Careful with the Choice of Words and Phrases
An angry customer can perceive your words and phrases in a negative manner, so be careful while you speak. Never use words and phrases like ‘I know’, ‘Are you sure?’, ‘that is how things are done’, ‘I am not authorized to do this’. Using such phrases are likely to further aggravate the situation, so you should be cautious with the choice of words. Use words that indicate you care for your customers and want to make up for your mistake. Use phrases like, ‘I understand how you are feeling’, ‘I am really sorry about this’, ‘I am looking into this matter’, ‘please bear with me’. Customer Service Trainings should be conducted on a regular basis to teach frontline staff how to use the right words when talking to angry customers.
Be Honest and Take Instant Action
Making excuses for poor service will not pacify the situation, in fact it might make your customers angrier and they will lose trust in your business. So if an angry customer tells you that he/she figured out that the product you gave was expired, instead of giving an excuse that it was the stock department’s fault and you need to check with them, just apologize to that customer and take instant action. You can rectify a negative customer experience by being transparent in your transactions and always taking immediate action on customers’ complaints.
Give an Agreeable Solution to the Problem and Follow Up
Frontline CSRs should be familiar with basic human psychology and behavior. They should know that irate customers feel helpless, frustrated and annoyed. The best way to deal with this is to offer an instant solution to them. Give angry customers choices and ask them which one will make them feel happy and follow up to see if they are satisfied with the solution. Giving away gift items and discount coupons to angry customers is a great way to turn the situation in your favor.