If you’ve ever encountered a furious, screaming, irate customer, you know it can be a real test of your people skills, not to mention your blood-pressure medication.

The next time you find yourself facing an angry customer, remember this advice from John Tschohl, customer service strategist and author of a new program entitled “Handling Irate Customers and Difficult Situations.”

 
 

Five keys to handling angry customers 

1.     Each customer is unique and has her own quirks of personality.

2.     You never know what might set off a tirade, so be ready at all times.

3.     This is your chance to find a solution to the problem.

4.     Try to be compassionate.

5.     Some situations cannot be remedied, despite your best efforts.

 

Don’t be sorry. Sometimes saying you’re sorry isn’t enough. “I’m sorry” is so overused it can come across as insincere. Instead, try saying you’re sorry about the specific circumstances the customer is facing. And use his name. It lets him know you see him as a human being.

Don’t hide behind the counter. Come out from behind the counter or desk so that there is no physical barrier between you and an irate customer. When under attack, try to remember that it’s not personal. You are merely the unfortunate object of this customer’s frustration.

Side with the customer.  Inform the customer that you will take up her cause. Let her know you are not her adversary. Instead, show your determination to solve the issue for her.

It’s never fun dealing with irate customers. But if you keep your cool and commit to helping them, you might just be their hero.

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