The Best Way to Approach Angry Customers
Upset or angry customers are a frequent phenomenon in call centers. A customer may have just gotten their credit card statement or electricity bill and perceived an error. This could be something as simple as an incorrect balance or questionable charge. Immediately the customer wants to take their frustration out on the first company representative that they come into contact with. When an angry or upset customer call, call center agents need to keep calm and maintain a courteous and respectful manner.
There are two ways for call center agents to approach this problem – the wrong and the right way. The wrong way is to assume the customer is overreacting or is ignorant. The agent may take an attitude of barely masked condescension. In short, the call center agent meets aggression with aggression. The right way is to respond to aggression with courtesy and politeness. Don’t treat the customer as though they’re barely tolerated, but thank them for being candid.
In a call center environment, a simple customer complaint can quickly escalate into a full-blown argument. Once the call center agent has responded to an aggressive or angry query by defaulting to a defensive attitude, the customer will respond in kind. Soon enough the original query has been forgotten, and instead the focus for the customer is the call center agent’s rudeness. Open warfare will surely erupt.
The best way for a call center agent to deal with an angry customer is to understand that their best weapon is unfailing politeness and courtesy in the line of fire. A customer who is angry – whether justified or not – can quickly be placated by refusing to give out any ‘bait’ for such behavior. It’s hard to act aggressively when treated with decency and respect. Furthermore, unbecoming behaviors are highlighted when a customer is rude but only receives a courteous and respectful response. Showing understanding and recognition of the customer’s emotions can help to calm the situation down.
Responding to aggression with courtesy and respect is a sure way of quickly diffusing a ticking bomb. Customers immediately feel their behavior is unbalanced and erratic when the only response their anger elicits is politeness and courtesy. Improved customer service can be achieved with the right attitude.