Customer Experience News & Trends

4 unacceptable customer behaviors — and how to deal with them

“Customers behaving badly” sounds like it could be a YouTube video, but for most contact center pros it’s a reality that lives out like this.

Customers sometimes get upset, or are angry by nature, and become irrational. Many times, agents know how to defuse the situation, calm customers and close the exchange on a professional, satisfied note.

Yet, there are times when customers’ behavior is unacceptable, and situations can’t (and possibly shouldn’t be) immediately fixed.

Here are four customer behaviors that call for agents to take a strong approach to dealing with the situation.

  1. Bullying – persistent criticism, humiliation or demeaning of employees publicly or privately. How to handle this: Agents can ask customers to stick to the situational facts, not personal feelings. If customers continue, agents will want to involve a supervisor in the conversation, or end it.
  2. Vexatiousness – acting in an annoying or irritating manner with no intention of resolving the issue at hand. How to handle this: Offer several solutions to the situation. If customers refuse to move forward, suggest a follow-up contact when they’ve had time to decide on a solution. End the conversation quickly and politely.
  3. Harassment – behavior that is unwanted, offensive and affects the agent’s dignity. How to handle this: This is a situation when others must be involved. Agents want to keep records of what’s said and report it to their managers and HR professionals in their company. In a business-to-business environment, it should also be reported to the customers’ company officials.
  4. Discrimination – failing to treat a person with respect on the basis of gender, race, religion, age, sexuality, disability and marital status. How to handle this: This is legal hot water, and needs to be handled with as much attention to detail as possible. Contact immediate supervisors and HR professionals immediately. Find witnesses to the events, when possible.

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