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May 12, 2018

Handle a Rude Customer with CARE

Having a customer service job requires patience and empathy, which can be challenging when you are faced with a rude customer. In this situation, it is doubly important for you to remain calm and professional, so you can resolve the customer’s problem without getting caught up in their drama. Here are some tips to make that task easier.

  • Just breathe. When you are confronted by an angry or rude person, the natural tendency is to tense up. This tightens your breathing and can elevate your blood pressure. The key is to take a long breath—not a huge sigh! You don’t want the customer to know you are doing it, so just take a long, slow, soft breath and smile genuinely while you do it. You may also take one small step back, putting a bit of distance between you and the customer.
  • Let the customer be angry.They need an opportunity to get out their frustration. They may make hurtful comments and while it’s almost impossible to not take what they say personally, you need to look past the outbursts and acknowledge that they just want to be heard. Approach them with an open willingness to let them vent.
  • Stay calm and respectful. Eventually your calm demeanor will calm down the customer! At this point, rude, angry customers can be reasoned with. Reassure them that you want to help resolve the issue and begin asking questions to find out the facts.

What about a customer who uses abusive language or expletives? Stay professional and politely tell them that you will not tolerate that kind of language. Reinforce that you want to help them, but you can’t do so if their language is offensive. If necessary, you may have to involve your manager or even security if you feel threatened.

Check out my workshop, Creating a Positive Customer Service Experience for strategies and techniques to improve customer service.

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