One of the hardest parts of customer service is knowing how to handle a rude customer. Customer service representatives run into rude customers all the time. If you’ve ever worked in customer service or for the public, you’re well aware of this.
Most of the time, rude customers have nothing against you. They’re trying to communicate that they are dissatisfied with the way they’ve been treated or your company’s product or service.
Are they doing it in the most effective way? No. Are they nice? No. But do they still deserve your full attention and excellent customer service? Yes.
How do you remain calm and resolve issues for customers with attitudes that seem unreasonable and counterproductive? We’ve got you covered.
How to Handle a Rude Customer
When customers are rude, it’s your responsibility to maintain a sense of professionalism while being firm with the customer. Remember the phrase “Act, don’t react” when handling a rude customer.
Making a bad call when you handle a rude customer could result in a number of consequences, including a negative customer service reputation, unnecessary escalation of problems, permanent loss of the customer, and complaints being filed against your business. Don’t let one customer’s attitude determine the future of your company or job!
Here’s a look at how to handle a rude customer without losing your job – or your sanity.
1. Stay positive
A customer will appreciate ‘hearing’ your smile over the phone or seeing your smiling face in person. Studies have shown that over the phone, people are able to identify when the speaker is smiling because it results in a positive, friendly inflection.
Remain polite, professional and kind during the interaction. A more pleasant tone in your voice will show that you are neutral and polite. Your sense of calm can also help the customer trust that they can rely on you to find the help they need.
2. Listen up
Be sure to listen to your customer and hear him or her out, no matter how trivial or ridiculous you personally feel their concern or request may be.
Let your customers have the floor and ask leading questions to get the information you need to assist them properly. You are looking for facts and fixes while they are looking to vent.
A customer becomes rude when they feel mistreated or when they’ve had a bad customer service experience in the past. Allow them to talk through their frustration by listening well and refraining from interrupting.
Sometimes, a customer will calm down when they feel that they’ve been listened to, acknowledged, and sympathized with. Make appropriate eye contact and sit up straight while your customer speaks, then summarize what they told you to make sure you understand. This is called active listening, and it’s essential in fruitful customer service interactions.
3. Apologize and stay neutral
Even though the issue may not be your fault, you should assure the customer that their concerns have been validated by apologizing sincerely. The customer will feel heard, which sets the stage for a more appropriate interaction without rudeness.
Keep your voice and tone neutral, even if the customer is raising their voice. Try to truly understand the issue. To remain neutral, you can’t express contempt or annoyance to the caller. You must act as though you are a third party and remember that diffusing the situation is your main goal.
Take notes on the customer’s concerns and complaints so that you can better help solve the problem. The best way to keep control of the conversation is to stay in control of your emotions, stick to the facts, and remain neutral while your customer speaks.
Showing grace to a rude customer is a smart way to put the fire out and come up with a working solution that leaves everyone satisfied.
4. Don’t take it personally
Avoid making negative comments as you handle a rude customer. Let him or her know you appreciate the honesty and that you want to help.
Positive words are a stark contrast to rude behavior. Simply remaining polite by not taking statements personally can cause the customer to rethink their strategy and work with you instead of against you.
Remember – rude customers aren’t angry with you. They are simply displeased with the quality of service or the performance of a product your company makes.
After you handle a rude customer, you may need to take a few minutes on your own to collect your thoughts, relax, and treat yourself to a job well done. Take a brisk walk, eat a snack, or look at something humorous for a few minutes before going back to your work day to ensure you don’t carry the stress over into another call.
Use these tips to effectively deal with a rude customer and protect your job and sanity. If you’d like to share a story about how you handled a rude customer, we’d love to hear it!