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Find out the 6 best practices you need to be using to handle challenging customers today

by Erina Suzuki | Published On May 31, 2022

angry difficult customer service

If you work at a contact center, then you’ve probably encountered angry and frustrated customers from time to time. These customers are even more challenging when they start taking their frustrations out on you. But don’t worry – take this opportunity to transform their negative experience into a positive one! Continue reading to learn 6 effective strategies when you’re handling demanding customers.

  • Engage in Active Listening: Don't be too quick to present a solution right away. Instead, let them speak while listening carefully to avoid missing out on essential details. Since you can't physically demonstrate your attention, you should respond with "OK," "I see," or "Alright" to signal that you are listening to their concerns. You can also gain a deeper understanding by asking them questions to clarify their issue or concern before offering a solution.
  • Remember the Details: While listening, note important details to ensure they are not overlooked. You can enter these details into a tool like a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform or a ticketing platform so you or another agent can refer to them later. By recording the information, customers won’t need to repeat themselves if they call back or are transferred to another agent, preventing future frustration.
  • Express Empathy: Try to empathize with your customers' situation and put yourself in their shoes. Simple statements like, "I can see why this can be frustrating. Let's see how we can make things right" or "I understand where you are coming from. Let me take care of this for you" can relieve their frustrations. By expressing empathy, you can demonstrate that you understand what has upset them and that you will take care of the issue.
  • Finding a Solution: The goal of the conversation is to offer a solution to the problem. Once you have listened to the customers’ concerns, take the necessary steps to resolve their issues. Sometimes, it may not always be possible to solve their problems right away. In that case, be sure to communicate the steps you will take to resolve it.. You can also provide a timeline so that your customer knows what to expect and when things will completed. Establishing a timeline provides direction and outlines the steps going forward.
  • Avoid Taking it Personally: When a customer yells at you or vents their frustration, it can be difficult not to take it personally. But try to remember, they are frustrated and upset at the situation, not you. Therefore, strive to resolve the problem instead. A more productive approach is to direct the conversation back to the main issue and explore possible solutions.
  • Take Time to Reflect: To continue improving, one must reflect. Take advantage of call recordings to gain valuable insights by playing back previous interactions. These insights may help you uncover what worked well and what could be done differently. You can then analyze each conversation and determine ways to improve when similar instances happen in the future. Keep in mind that some interactions may not always go as planned, but as long as you remain committed and find ways to improve, providing excellent customer service is within your reach!

One of the most challenging aspects of customer service is handling angry or difficult customers. However, if you handle these situations professionally and productively, you can turn their negative experience into a positive one. As a result, your customers will be more satisfied and happier, resulting in a greater customer experience.

Dealing with difficult customers can leave you feeling exhausted, so check out the Guide to Preventing Agent Burnout in Call Centers for tips and advice on managing stress to avoid burnout!


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