Whether you interact with customers over the phone or face-to-face, having the right tools to handle a hot-headed person can benefit. Knowing a bit about human behavior can also help you to influence their reaction and turn the tide of the conversation. Try out these five tips the next time you are faced with or are on the phone with, a temperamental customer.
Allow the Customer to Vent
Have you ever had someone come up and start screaming in your face? Our natural reaction is to try to stop the tirade by cutting them off or by yelling back. The next time this happens, just let them vent and get it all out of their system. If you don’t, they will feel as though you haven’t heard them and will usually start back at the beginning of their rant. When they finish, they are much more likely to listen to you when it’s your turn to speak.
Give the Customer a Good Reputation
When customers exhibit any negative behavioral traits, give them a positive reputation to live up to; it can smooth things along dramatically. If they are being unreasonable, try to subtly hint that they are a reasonable person in a sincere way and continue the conversation. Most people will want to live up to a good reputation. After all, they don’t want to appear unreasonable!
Let Them Know They are Important
It may sound obvious, but everyone wants to feel important. Try saying, “I know your time is valuable to you,” and continue on in that vein. You are assigning importance to their time, and thus, to them. Listen to what they have to say and be polite when you speak with them. Try to commiserate with their situation and help them to see you as being on their side.
Choose Your Words Carefully
If you are discussing a customer’s account and start off by saying, “Your account is past-due,” you will put them on the defensive. Phrases that place distance between the customer and their situation are better. For example, you might say, “The account is past-due,” or “A payment is necessary on the account.”
Never Say No
If you must tell the customer “no,” try not to use the actual word. “Yes, however” or “Not at this time” sound more neutral. Because the word “no” sounds so final, it makes you appear inflexible and unwilling to compromise. A customer needs to hear that you are doing your best to give them a “yes” answer, even if in the end you are unable to tell them exactly what they would like to hear.
Knowing how to calm an angry customer down is extremely valuable if you want to steer a conversation toward a positive outcome. People are much more receptive when they are made to feel important and cared about. Try incorporating these ideas into the next conversation you have with an irate customer and see if they help you.