How to Manage a Difficult Customer

Anyone who has ever worked in the customer service industry to any capacity may have dealt with an angry or upset customer yelling or being rude at some point during the conversation.

Follow these easy steps below to ensure your Agents can tactfully deal with the situation and convert those dissatisfied visitors into happy, loyal customers through a positive support experience.

Stay calm

The first and most crucial step is to remain calm. Remember that you do not just represent yourself when you talk to a frustrated customer; you also represent your business. Staying calm under pressure reflects your company and co-workers' positivity and professionalism.

If a customer starts hurling insults at you, take a moment to remind yourself that it is not personal. Handle the situation with a gentle and understanding tone, avoiding the excessive use of punctuation and giving the customers time to express themselves. You may be surprised by how effective this can be in calming an upset customer down.

Ignore rude comments and focus on how you can fix the situation. The sooner you assist them and solve their problem, the less time they have to be angry!

Have your script ready

Canned Messages can play an essential role in scripting your customers' personalized responses and streamlining productivity. Making your unhappy customer wait on the chat can aggravate the situation. Therefore, ask your online chat support team to share which phrases they have found most effective when dealing with unhappy customers. If you can, why not create a specific Canned Message Category for this purpose!

Canned messages prove invaluable to future hires and less experienced team members, who need these field-tested scripts to guide their conversations. If your team does not already have a script, you can use Comm100's 101 Ready-to-Use Live Chat Scripts for Both Sales and Customer Service to help you get started.

Personalize your response

Even if canned message responses are helpful for you or your team, no frustrated customer wants to feel like they are receiving a generic reply. Use scripts as guidelines for how you should approach a subject, but do not forget to include personal touches, like using the customer's name.

Cognitive science provides evidence that hearing your name activates a unique part of the brain. When you use somebody's name, you create a thread of understanding. It makes an experience more personal and less formal, which can be helpful while dealing with somebody who is irritated.

You can add a personal touch and listen to the customer using the following way:

  • Avoid the use of technical jargon with your customer. Bear in mind that customers are likely not as familiar with the product as you are, so use language that is easy for them to understand.
  • Use a photo on your profile to help make a personal connection.
  • If you are using a shortcut, ensure that it makes sense in the context of your conversation.
  • If your customer has been in touch with you repeatedly about an issue, review their chat history so that they do not have to keep repeating themselves and reference these if necessary to demonstrate your awareness of their previous experiences.

Empathize with your customer

Empathy is defined as the ability to share another person's feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person's situation. In a customer service environment, it implies putting yourself in your customer's shoes.

It is an important personality trait for your support team because they must deal with a diverse range of customers every day, solving problems while representing their brand in the best way possible.

Consider the following two scenarios in which you contact a company's customer service agent for extra help:

  • Scenario A: You contact customer service, and the agent tells you that there is nothing you can do but wait. You're left frustrated and helpless.
  • Scenario B: You contact customer service, and the agent apologizes for the mix-up and expresses sympathy for your frustration. They provide options for resolving the situation and stay in touch with you until you find a solution.

Showing empathy in the call or chat can help you:

  • Build an enriched bond between you and your customers
  • Gain a better understanding of customers' needs
  • Rectify a negative customer experience
  • Increase customer retention
  • Improve brand image

Keep the language optimistic

Once you have listened to the customer's complaint, be prepared to offer solutions with optimistic sentence structures. It may seem insignificant, but rewording your phrases gives them different meanings.

For example:

Instead of "I don't know.", say, "Let me find out for you."

Don't say, "I can't help you." Instead, try, "Let me forward you to the appropriate specialist."

A positive spin on your sentences can mean you are an assistant to your customer's solution instead of just another hurdle.

Take help from another agent

While it is best to solve an issue in a single chat session, sometimes the best option may be to get help from your coworker for your customer resolution.

  • If you are not able to understand the customer’s issue a few times, you can get another agent to assist on chat or call.
  • If you are not able to help with a particular issue, you can transfer the chat or call to another agent who can resolve the issue.
  • When transferring a chat to another agent, fill the other agent in on the situation first so the customer doesn't have to repeat themselves. This can be done via the Agent tab, internal notes, or other communication channels you may use.

Go extra mile for the customer 

Once you have been able to resolve your customer's main issue, ensure to ask if there are any additional issues you can help with. You may be surprised how often customers have additional pain points or questions that need to be addressed. When you can service them additionally, they genuinely feel that your company cares and goes that extra mile for their satisfaction.