5 Tools When Dealing with a Difficult Customer

dealing with difficult customer

Her eyeballs almost popped out of her head.

She took a deep breath and proceeded to unleash a flurry of curse words.

I was 16 standing right next to the service desk and watching the whole scene. She missed the 30 day deadline to return her stereo by one day.

My coworker did the unthinkable and started yelling right back. She had a rough day and was tired of being a punching bag.

You can’t yell back.

You can never yell back.

It doesn’t make it right, but you have to keep your cool. That’s why channeling your inner Zen master is vital to great customer service.

Here are 5 tools to help you become a master of your feelings even in a tough situation:

1. Breathe Deep

Taking deep breaths when you’re in a difficult situation is the number one tool you should apply when talking to a tough customer. If you allow yourself to tighten and get angry you could lash out at them.

When you show you are calm the customer or feed off the calmness.

2. Be in the Moment

Finding the Zen in a situation is very important to your success. That means being in the moment 100%. If a customer is yelling at you how do you feel. Does your body tingle? Do you tighten up? Are you afraid to say anything? Do you feel like crying?

Whatever you were feeling is the way you feel. There is no changing that. There is only acceptance. When you accept the situation for what it is and you don’t want to make it any different that’s when you start to channel your inner Zen master.

3. Bring Your Compassion

We all have difficult days. Sometimes we take that out on others. It’s not fair to the people that we do this to, but it does happen.

It’s up to you to bring compassion to the person you were dealing with. You can practices this next time you’re driving a car. When someone drives like a jerk, watch your emotions. Notice how you can start to get carried away. Think about what the other person could possibly be going through when they act this way.

If someone cuts me off on the road I do get angry but I try not to let it take me to a place that makes my life more difficult. Instead I think that maybe they have a loved one in the hospital and they’re rushing to get there or they haven’t seen their kids in ten days and just can’t stand being away from them for another minute. I realize that that it’s a small chance that this is a possibility, but it helps me stay grounded.

4. Review the Scene Objectively

After someone goes off on an angry rant and you’ve had a chance to calm down that’s when you can look back at the scene and see if you could have handled it differently or if it was just something that was meant to happen. However you choose to look at the situation it’s important that you do so objectively and not let your emotions get you too high or too low.

You can access these calm emotions by taking notes on the situation from a bird’s eye perspective or just have a chat with a compassionate friend about it and try not to get too caught up in how you felt during the altercation. By creating this emotional distance you’ll have an easier time with the next tool.

5. Find the Lesson in the Moment

In every difficult situation there is always something to learn. If a customer is being over-the-top angry and try not to judge them and get too carried away with this liking them for not being able to hold their temper.

You need to find a way to look back on the situation and learn from it. It could be something simple like using it as a reminder not to get angry at other people or it could be a chance to practice calming someone else down.

Great customer service requires using every tough situation as a chance to learn and grow.

Your turn

What have you seen well at work or what worked well when you’ve been upset?

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