Everyone has heard of or experienced horror stories of angry or stressful customer interactions. If you’re working in customer service, the thought of ending up in a tense interaction can be a source of stress or even fear.
The good news is you aren’t alone. Close to 3 million people work in customer service and have many tips to dealing with stressful customer interactions. Below are some of our tips on what to do to prepare yourself for these situations.
4 Ways to Cope with Stressful Interactions
Be prepared to deal with angry customers. This will help you stay calm and recover quickly. Not sure how to prepare? Try these tactics:
Take a Deep Breath
Emotions run high in tense or angry conversations. If you respond in frustration or anger, the situation will only escalate.
Take a second to pause. Take a deep breath. Evaluate what you want to say. This will help you stay calm and collected in front of the customer, even if you don’t feel it.
You’re a human, not a robot. It’s ok to determine boundaries for yourself and your interactions. These boundaries can include: when to turn the conversation over to a coworker or manager, when a customer needs to be asked to leave, or even when you need to take a pause to reassess the situation.
If you are not sure where or how to establish boundaries to prevent or handle a stressful customer interaction, ask your manager. If you ARE a manager, check out our blog on ways to help support your customer service reps.
Threats are never okay. You can always end the interaction if you feel unsafe.
Escalate When Needed
Know when to turn the interaction over to a supervisor. Sometimes the customer will specifically ask for a manager. Sometimes they will continue an angry interaction with you. In some situations, a customer can be calmed down just by speaking to another or more senior person.
As with establishing personal boundaries, you can always ask your manager to work with you to determine what situations are best to bring them in for.
Remember: It Isn’t Personal
At the end of the day, most customer frustrations are caused by things that are out of your immediate control. Although sometimes emotional and tense interactions can make you feel at fault, upset, or down, it is important to remember that as a customer service representative, you can only do as much as your job allows.
Take a deep breath and think of the times you have been able to provide exceptional service and make someone’s day better.
Call Center Resources
Customer service can be an extremely rewarding career, but the anxiety associated with working with abusive or angry customers can turn people away. Knowing how to keep yourself calm, collected, and safe when interacting with angry customers can help alleviate this stress and help you stay your best for the majority of customers you will experience that are kind and polite.
As the leader in call center services in North America, AnswerNet provides resources for employees, managers, and other industry professionals on call center and customer services. Check out our blogs for information on marketing, management, services, and more.