Customer Experience News & Trends

Rage is on the rise: What should customer service pros do about it?

Rage is a rising occupational hazard for customer service professionals, according to new research. Here’s what they can do about it.

Forty percent of customers admitted that they’ve lost their temper with a customer service professional, the Corvisa Cloud Second Annual Customer Service Report Card study found. Another 15% said they’ve lost their temper three or four times.

Fortunately, customer rage isn’t the norm for everyone. About 35% of customers said they haven’t gotten that upset when dealing with Customer Service. But there’s enough rage out there that service pros need to be ready to deal with customers who are in danger of losing their temper.

How to contain the rage

When upset customers start to heat up, front-line service pros need to act quickly to defuse the situation.

These tips from Peggy Morrow, a certified customer service speaker, consultant and trainer, and author of Customer Service: How to Do It Right! can help:

  1. Lower your voice and slow down. Do it gradually, and the upset customer will (unknowingly) start to mirror the calm behavior.
  2. Ignore some things. Upset customers will likely make a personal attack, but they don’t usually mean it. They’re upset at the situation, not you.
  3. Remain professional. Acknowledge customers’ emotions and keep yourself focused on facts and solutions. Avoid letting your voice, rate of speech and blood pressure rise.

What to do next

Before service pros can move on and be effective with other customers after an encounter with a tough customer, they’ll likely want to take a short breather to recoup.

That’s a good time to remember the “three Ps.” Put things in perspective by asking yourself:

  • Is it personal? Most of the time it isn’t. Recognize the situation that frustrated the customer.
  • Is it permanent? Even customers who say they’re leaving often come back. Anger is short-term.
  • Does it matter in the big picture? It probably won’t be an issue in the future.

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