Tips to help you Deal with Difficult Customers

WeLoveCustomersDealing with difficult customers is a daily reality for many of those working in a customer service industry. It can be a frustrating, unproductive and uncomfortable experience. At times, situations may even escalate to a point where the safety of staff members is compromised. As the conflict management and crisis intervention specialists, CRTC can train your staff to recognise, evaluate and diffuse potentially dangerous situations.

Knowing the most effective methods of dealing with difficult customers at the lower end of the aggression scale is very important, as it generally prevents escalation. While there is no substitute for comprehensive training, CRTC can offer a few basic suggestions that will help you and your staff retain workplace harmony:

Stay calm
This can be challenging in a volatile setting, but if you can stay calm and collected, regardless of the customer’s demeanour, you have a much greater chance of diffusing the tension. If the other party swear or become abusive, don’t respond in kind. Take a deep breath, remind the customer that you are here to help and try to push the conversation in a positive direction.

Listen and empathise
This is a vital component of dealing with difficult customers. Let them talk, even if what they are saying is incorrect or lacking in information. Interrupting or talking over someone will only increase their frustration. When it is time to respond, show them that you identify with them and their concerns. Through verbal echoes or nods, you let the customer know that they have been understood and their concern acknowledged.

Never take it personally
Aside from minimising the negative impact at your end, this technique will also diffuse the situation when dealing with difficult customers. Remember you are at work in a professional capacity and speak to the issue in question without resorting to personal attacks. Ignore any personal remarks made by the customer and guide the discussion back to neutral ground.

We’re all human
And we all have bad days. Most of us have, at some stage, played the part of rude customer. When dealing with difficult customers, remember that they may be venting more than anything. If you are helpful and try to make their day a little better, they are more likely to calm down and you’ll both feel better for it.

Some customers may be aggressive to the extent that these tactics don’t work, but they are certainly a good starting point for conflict avoidance. CRTC offer intensive courses in aggression management that ensure you retain control in even the most difficult circumstances, but the techniques above can be applied by anyone, every day and will help make your workplace a happier, safer environment.

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