If you work with the public, then you know how difficult some people can be to deal with. I have been a customer service worker for ten years, and have learned some very effective methods for handling tough customers.
Keep Your Cool
If someone is yelling at you, yelling back will only worsen the situation. Keep a neutral tone of voice. If you’re on the phone, smile as you speak — the client will be able to hear the smile in your voice.
Watch out for aggressive body language. If you work at a desk, keep your hands folded upon it to avoid arm gestures that could be perceived the wrong way. No matter how frustrated you become, avoid exasperated sighs.
It’s Not Personal
It is important to remember that angry customers are rarely angry at you as a person. They’re simply expressing their frustration with the company that you represent. You happen to be the first sounding board they could get to.
Remembering that it isn’t personal helps you to let negative customer experiences go. The last thing you want is to be thinking about that agitated customer during your free time outside of work.
Keep Good Records
With chronically difficult clients, you should be very diligent in keeping notes on what happens during your interactions with them. Keeping records in this manner makes it nearly impossible for the customer to get you in trouble. You’ll always have records of what was and wasn’t said to counter any false accusations.
You should always apologize to an irritated client, even if what they’re mad about isn’t your fault. Trying to explain to the customer who is actually in the wrong will only serve to further anger that person.
An apology opens a line of dialogue between you and the client. With the conversation now open, you can get to the root of the customer’s problem and solve it — or find someone who can.
Refer to Your Manager
Sometimes it feels like you’re never getting anywhere with an angry customer. In this instance, or if you begin to feel threatened, refer the person to your manager for further assistance.
Sometimes just talking to a different person is enough to calm an irate customer.