Resident customer care can be a mine field but with these little tips you can be equipped to keep everyone happy and keep your cool while doing so.

Here are some tips for keeping your cool and keeping them cool during a bad customer care experience.

1. Listen

Practice active listening rather than passive listening. Active listening means concentrating on everything the customer is saying so you have a clear understanding of why they’re upset. Passive listening means only absorbing part of the message, and not paying full attention to the emotions behind their communication.

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
Steve Covey, author of ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’.

Be present and give the customer your full attention. Read the customer’s inquiry twice before you respond. Focus on the words they’re communicating and not the anger behind their words. To show the customer you’re actively listening, paraphrase what their complaint is, ask clarifying questions, and don’t interrupt them. This is often the most effective way to handle angry customers at the outset of the situation.

2. Apologize

Apologize for the problem they’re having. Acknowledging the mistake and letting the customer know you’re really sorry will go a long way. Be thorough in your apology.

Instead of: “I’m sorry for the inconvenience”. say: “I’m sorry your order was late, this isn’t the customer experience we’re aiming for and I can see how this would be really frustrating. I’ve looked into the issue and here’s what happened…”

A thorough apology shows the customer you care, and you understand their frustration. Offer a brief explanation but don’t drag this out too much. Keep the explanation short and move forward.

3. Show empathy

Empathy helps guide your response and reaction to an angry customer. Empathy doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with the customer. It means you truly understand how they feel.

By truly understanding how the customer feels, you’ll be able to relate with them on a more personal level. As you have difficult conversations with customers, showing empathy will help de-escalate the issue and show the customer you respect them and are really listening to them.

4. Maintain a calm tone of voice

Don’t let frustration get the better of you. When dealing with an angry customer, you may be tempted to match their tone of voice. Avoid this at all costs, as it will only make the situation worse.

It’s easy to copy a frustrated person’s tone of voice, and to respond immediately after they finish a statement. But you’ll have a more productive conversation if you can remain calm, and if you can take a brief moment to think about your answer.

Tip for maintaining a calm tone of voice:

  • Proofread your response to ensure you avoid any aggressive language. If time allows, step away for a few minutes and come back to your drafted response before sending it to the customer. A quick break and a fresh perspective can help filter out any harsh words.

5. Use the customer’s name

There’s power in a name. Using the customer’s name puts a face to the person you’re talking to. It helps instill a strong level of personalization in the interaction. This is much more effective when dealing with an angry customers than addressing a nameless entity who could be anyone.

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the most sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
Dale Carnegie, author of ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’.

Using the customer’s name shows you care, and it also reminds the customer that you are also a real person working for a real company. Addressing the customer by name also shows them that you respect them.