- As customer service professionals, we have to put up with a lot. People take their frustration out on us and it doesn't always seem fair. And it's still our job to help them feel better. There's one situation where this doesn't apply. That's when an upset customer crosses the line and becomes abusive. Here are a few examples. Yelling, profanity, using intimidating or threatening language, displaying intimidating or threatening body language, or any unwanted physical contact or violence.
The normal rules of customer service no longer apply when a customer crosses that line. Nobody should have to tolerate inappropriate, abusive behavior. You may want to consult your organization's safety and security policy for specific steps to take when confronted by an abusive customer. For now, here are a few general guidelines. Always put safety first. This is especially true when serving a customer face-to-face. Do whatever is necessary to avoid putting yourself and your coworkers at risk of physical harm.
Be firm, let customers know you are there to serve them, but you won't serve them if they are being abusive. Finally, avoid confrontation. Whether it's a verbal argument, a physical confrontation, or a war of words on social media, chat, or email, a confrontation is never a good idea. You could lose your job or even be physically hurt. Helping upset customers is a noble cause, but your safety is even more important.
- Listening with empathy
- Helping the customer be right
- Preserving the relationship
- Learning from angry customers
- Passing along complaints
- Replacing trigger words