Dealing with Difficult Customers: A Professional Guide for Support People

If you’re working as a customer-facing support, you’ll come across some tough customers from time to time. They might be angry, frustrated, or upset about something, and some are more polite than others. How you manage these customers can make or break a relationship, so here is a quick guide with some tips on managing difficult customer interactions.  

1. Stay Cool

We all want to maintain a customer-centric approach in customer support, since that’s the main criteria of the job. Keeping cool under pressure is important, and even taking a deep breath can help to calm yourself down if the call doesn’t go well.

2. Listen Carefully

Often, difficult customers just want to be heard. Listen carefully to your customer’s concerns, and ask clarifying questions to show that you’re listening.

3. Be Understanding

Show the customer that you understand their concerns. This can be done by actively listening, acknowledging concerns and letting the customer know that you’re there to help.

4. Don’t Take It Personally

Remember, the customer is upset about the situation, not you. Some customers may take their frustrations out on you, but it’s important not to take it personally.

5. Set Limits

If a customer does begin making personal attacks, using bad language or otherwise making you uncomfortable, it’s ok to set boundaries. Politely advise that you want to help, but you won’t accept abuse.

6. Find Solutions

In customer support and help desk management, most customers just want a timely and suitable resolution to their issues. Not all problems can be solved immediately, but you should always let customers know you’ll investigate solutions. Also, making suggestions to customers shows that you’re willing to work with them on a solution.

7. Get Help If Needed

Some customer issues are extremely complex. Some customers are extremely difficult. It’s the reality of life in customer support, but if anything is too difficult to handle, don’t be afraid to put the customer on hold and advise you’re going to seek further assistance. This can also build rapport with customers, because they see you making a genuine effort.

8. Follow Up

If you can’t solve a problem straight away and need to call a customer back, ensure you do so at the agreed date and time. Even if you haven’t fixed the problem by then, call to check in and let the customer know you’re working on it.

9. Take Care of Yourself

Finally, don’t forget to look after yourself. Dealing with difficult customers isn’t fun, and you must take care of your well-being. After a particularly difficult call, try to take a break or debrief with a supervisor.

Customer support is an extremely rewarding career, and learning how to manage difficult situations is the first step in achieving excellence in this field.

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Dealing with Difficult Customers: A Professional Guide for Support People

Jane Kathlene Talledo