Written by CHRISTINA CAMMERINO 07/22/2016

Working in customer service can be easy and rewarding when someone calls with a compliment or simple problem to solve. Customers get rude or angry for a variety of reasons some justified, some not. But since you are in business to serve your customers, you will likely encounter rude or angry individuals at one time or another. How you respond can make the difference.

However, some customers make it tough to keep your composure. When you are speaking rude or angry customers, it is a natural reaction for you to want to get angry in return but you are at work and you cannot let that happen.

1. Don't Take It Personally

Although angry customers take their frustration out on you, they know that you did not cause their problem. Allow them to vent about their problem, but do not take it personally. Listen to their story without interrupting and then find a way to help.

2. Use your customer's name

When we use somebody's name, we create the thread of understanding. We get more personal and shorten the distance. This can be helpful while handling somebody who is irritated.

3. Use your best listening skills.

The first thing an angry customer wants is to vent. To do so, they need someone to listen and, for better or worse, you are that person. Listening patiently can defuse a situation, as long as the customer feels acknowledged in his or her complaint. Hear them out. When they are done talking, summarize what you have heard and ask any questions to further clarify their complaint. Body language can be critically important here. Keep eye contact. Stand or sit up straight. Keep your arms uncrossed. Show how closely you are paying attention to their problem.

4. Be Patient

Each person and situation is different, so be patient and understand that it may take a little longer for some angry customers to relax and some may get angrier as the call or live chat continues. Stay in control and try to direct the conversation to a happy resolution. Do not rush the phone call or live chat, but keep in mind that you have other customers to help.

5. Reiterate

Make sure that you are addressing the technical, administrative and emotional aspects of the customer concerns. After you have listened carefully to the customer, reiterate the priorities that you believe that you heard from the customer perspective. This will assure that you are focused on the appropriate issues and reassure the customer that you are concentrating on the proper priorities. Use a soft, firm and inquisitive voice. Ask the customer to confirm that you have restated the facts and priorities accurately, then write them down.

6. Kill Them with Kindness

If your angry customer refuses to calm down, then kill them with kindness. Be sincere, respectful, and understanding. Show sympathy for their situation and express empathy for their frustration. By keeping calm and controlling your own anger, you may find that your customer will ease up a little too. Try to make a joke to lighten the mood or share a story to show that you can relate.

7. Ask questions

After they complete their story, ask about the facts and details of the matter at hand.

8. Find a solution

Once you understand why the customer is unhappy, it is time to offer a solution. Ask him what he feels should be done or put forward your own fair and realistic answer to the problem. In most cases, that's all the customer is looking for and may result in providing some degree of satisfaction.

9. Follow Up

It is always a good idea to follow up with the customer, albeit I would recommend waiting a decent amount of time before doing so. One good way to remember to follow up is to save a follow-up in your CRM, or even create a workflow automation that sends out an email alert to you that it's time to follow-up.

Remeber keeping your customers satisfied and happy is the goal!

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