Customer Experience News & Trends

6 ways to deal with jerks on the phone

Some customers are jerks – there’s just no nice way to put it. But you have to deal with them, so here are six ways to minimize the pain.

Whether he’s’ upset about the circumstances or she’s a person with anger naturally running through her body like blood, some customers will come across as jerks. And you’ll likely deal with at least one every day.

Take these tips from management guru and CEO of Vendio Mike Effle on how to make interactions with jerks work:

  1. Listen and bite your tongue. Trying to talk over angry people only fuels their fire. Let them vent, then take your turn to talk.
  2. Be a canyon. Echo back their issues, concerns and emotions. Recognizing how they feel is probably the best thing you can do: “I can understand why you’re so frustrated, Mr. Smith.”
  3. Assume others are watching. You don’t want to embarrass the customer or yourself, so try to keep the conversation as low-key as possible. Lower your voice and use kind words – and your jerk will likely soon do the same.
  4. Talk about the issue, not the person. Jerks can make their anger very personal, attacking agents in their fury. Try to remove their names and yours from the conversation and stick to the issue. And after the conversation remember that it wasn’t personal.
  5. Follow up. Jerks ease up when you do what you promised and then follow up to make sure they’re pleased with it. In fact, most jerks realize they were jerks when that happens!
  6. Know when to give in. You can’t satisfy all jerks. If they become abusive or threatening, it’s time to either get a supervisor or end the call.

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