Dealing with Difficult Customers in a Productive Way

Dealing with Difficult Customers in a Productive Way

If you’ve ever worked in the customer service industry, then you understand just how upset people can be from time to time. This often happens in high stress situations when people are expecting immediate results. Sometimes, if you aren’t able to offer these results, people can become belligerent. It’s important to understand exactly how to deal with these types of issues. Chances are, working in any field where you have frequent contact with people you’re going to end up meeting someone who’s having a very bad day.

This can result in frustration and a reaction that’s a bit more extreme than usual. The last thing you want to do with the difficult situation is escalate it. This is why it’s important that you keep your cool, and do everything in your power to diffuse the situation. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand how to do this. There are many different tactics that can be used, but it’s important to understand the basics.

Different industries will have different types of problems. If someone is calling in with a medical emergency, you can expect that they’ll already be stressed. If they’re met with any kind of resistance, it can lead to a situation that escalates to anger very quickly. There are many times when people are simply frustrated, and they don’t necessarily mean to take this out on you. Unfortunately, they often end up angry with the person on the other end of the phone instead of with the situation. Anytime somebody plans on working for an answering service, it’s important that they undergo sensitivity training of some kind.

Most of the time, when people call them with an urgent question it’s not because they’re happy about something. This could be due to a medical emergency, or a heating and cooling emergency. Either way, it’s definitely not something that they want to be dealing with. It’s very important to understand how to talk to people when their dealing with incredibly stressful situations. When you plan on interviewing answering service companies, ask them how they deal with high conflict consumers. This can give insight into exactly how they’ll represent your company, and what you can expect in stressful situations. These are just a few tactics for dealing with difficult customers over the phone:

Don’t Escalate

This is especially true when the customers calling in at a strange time. Chances are, if they’re calling in the middle of the night it’s not because something good happened. This means that they’re already stressed out and upset. The last thing you want to do is meet anger with anger. This simply makes the situation worse and can end up poorly communicating everything. If a customer’s trying to communicate some sort of a medical emergency and this happens, you can lose the entire message. This can have dangerous results, or leave them to seek out other professionals


Remember to put yourself in their shoes. When somebody is extremely upset, there’s generally a reason for it. Listen to what they have to say and let them know that you understand. Empathy is hugely helpful with customer relations. Not only does it help you to understand why people are upset, it also helps you to understand how to appropriately respond.

Ask Questions

If something isn’t clear, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions also lets your customers know that you’re listening to them. As long as these questions are informed and are helping you to define the point. Being an active listener is the first part to customer satisfaction. This is something you should teach people in your office as well as those who will be answering the phones.

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