One tough aspect of providing customer service is working with customers who are deeply upset and you have few options to help them. Often, customers are angry due to things outside of your control, and you happen to be the person that they feel will solve their problems.
Sometimes there are small things you can do, and many times it is less about policy and more about treating the customers with compassion; however, this can be difficult when customers are not showing you the same. Here are three tips to help calm a frustrated customer.
When anger and frustration have reached the point of lashing out, the human brain is using its emotional center to guide behavior, and logic or decision-making have gone offline. This can make it difficult for a person to rationalize or understand situations as they unfold.
One way to help customers return to a calmer state is to empathize with them. By putting yourself in their shoes, you can understand how they are feeling and the clients will feel heard. Saying to them, “I understand, I have felt this way before,” can calm them down enough that logic will reinstate and the conversation can begin to move forward.
2. Repeat Back
One of the best ways to show empathy is to repeat back to the customers what they are saying, often by naming a corresponding emotion. If a customer is irate about an unexpected cost, you can repeat back the frustration, without agreeing to anything: “I understand how frustrating it is when an order is not on time,” or “I hear how upsetting this is. The insurance is higher than you expected.”
3. Call for Backup
At times, people are so angry that there is little you can do. This is a good time to call someone else into the conversation. If you have a manager that you can call on, he or she can help relieve tensions and make the customer feel like you are going above and beyond.
Your answer to the customer’s question or concern may not change with the additional person in the room, but having backup can reinforce what you can or cannot do for the client. Additionally, if your hands are tied on a decision and a co-worker has more leeway, he or she can really help dissolve the heightened feelings.