How to Keep Your Cool with Rude Customers

(and turn a difficult conversation into a memorable one)

You sit down at your desk, ready for a day full of talking with customers when it comes in. An angry message that reads,

“I'm tired of having to deal with your company, I demand a refund or I will write bad reviews for you everywhere!”

Uh-oh. Hopefully you can keep your cool because you’re about to chat with a rude customer. Everyone’s had to deal with it, the customer who within the first few lines of chatting live you know is going to be a long and difficult one. You put on your favorite tunes, strap yourself into your chair and prepare yourself for the roller coaster that is going to be this chat. With these six simple tips, you can better prepare yourself for these interactions and turn a negative customer experience into one that the customer will never forget!

6 Ways to Turn a Difficult Conversation into a Memorable One

1. Have Empathy

The first step to really dealing with a dissatisfied customer is knowing where they’re coming from. Letting the customer know you care about his or her issue is important and helps you understand what they actually want in the end. In fact, one of the biggest complaints consumers have when they raise an issue with a company is that customer service agents don’t show sufficient understanding or sympathy for their plight. Most customers who have reached the point of being angry and rude are there for a reason. It could be that their shipment is late. They might have an unrecognized amount deducted from their credit card. Or, they didn’t fully understand your terms of service until it was too late. These are all fair reasons to be upset and taking a walk in their shoes to understand the issue is the first step to a more productive live chat.

Chatting with Rude Customers

2. Kill them with kindness

This is the most important and yet most difficult part of dealing with an angry customer. Showing genuine kindness is one of the greatest ways to build up a base of loyal customers and no one wants to feel like they’re being read a script or hear the repeated line, “We’re sorry that you’re having that issue.” Along the same lines as empathy, understanding the problem the customer is having is important when showing kindness, but it goes further by putting that understanding into calm, courteous responses.

Create a better relationship with your customers.

3. Get in the right mindset

It’s hard to create an awesome customer service experience when you start a chat conversation thinking, “Ugh. This is just another angry customer I need to deal with.” By being in this mindset, you’re putting up a wall that makes it harder to empathize and show genuine kindness to your customer. Remember, most angry customers are justified in their anger and feel that blowing up is the only way that their issue will be solved or taken seriously. If you’re trying to end the conversation as soon as possible, it’s likely to cause problems down the road and could destroy a relationship with an otherwise friendly, loyal customer. That’s why it’s always important to show them the same respect, time and kindness you show your other customers.

Awesome Customer Service Experience

4. Get to root cause

After showing the customer that you fully understand their issue and can relate to the anger they are feeling, it’s time to listen. Fully listening to the customer's problem and making sure that you have the right solution is one of the best ways to ensure the customer leaves the interaction feeling better off than when they initially contacted you. Nothing is worse to a customer who feels like they have been mistreated than feeling like this mistreatment is continuing. So, take it slow, listen to their concerns, even if they’re just venting off issues that are out of your control and do what you can to completely fulfill their needs. Taking this extra time will make sure you’re able to solve their problem as quickly as possible. Plus, listening to customer issues can be one of the leading causes of company success.

5. Escalate if needed

Every customer, especially those who have reached their tipping point, believe their issue is of the utmost importance. That’s why some will demand to talk to the highest figure of authority they can reach. Before tossing disgruntled customers over to management, take steps to reduce unnecessary escalations. If you’re unable to pacify the customer however, escalating to your manager is the best way to show the customer that their specific issue is something that the company cares deeply about.

Escalate customer issues to your manager

6. Follow up

What’s even worse than a customer angrily coming in with an issue? An angry customer coming in with an issue a second or even third time. Yikes! If the customer was mad before, you can bet that not having their issue resolved the first time will make consecutive times even worse. Furthermore, if this customer was irritated with an issue before, chances are that additional issues are going to set them off earlier. Be proactive. Show the customer you care and follow up with an email to see if their issue was resolved or if there were any additional issues that they ran into. Sometimes people come off as angry when they’re actually just passionate about getting their problem solved. Luckily you can turn that passion into positivity towards your company by killing them with kindness and stellar support. Who knows? You may find that these customers become some of your most loyal!

Angry customers are just like your average customers, just a little bit louder. By having empathy, showing kindness, and putting the time in needed to handle these customers, you can create a lasting relationship with that customer and improve your customer retention as well. After all, customer service is the number one reason that customers leave or stay with a company. The next time that all caps message comes in, don’t be scared, think of it as an opportunity to “wow” a customer and create a long lasting relationship

Ready to provide killer customer service?