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Home » Articles » How to de-escalate an angry customer in 7 steps

How to de-escalate an angry customer in 7 steps

How to de-escalate an angry customer in 7 steps

When it comes to customer service, one of the most challenging situations to handle is an angry customer.

Dealing with angry customers can be stressful and overwhelming. Many of them want immediate action for various reasons.

According to the 2022 Global Consumer Trends Report, 80% of angry customers demand that firms provide better experiences. It’s crucial to handle these situations effectively to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Let’s discuss the step-by-step guide on how to de-escalate an angry customer in this article.

What are de-escalation techniques?

De-escalation techniques refer to strategies used to calm down a situation and reduce the anger and frustration of a customer.

These techniques aim to defuse tension, promote effective communication, and find a resolution that satisfies both the customer and the business.

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What are de-escalation techniques
What are de-escalation techniques?

Reasons customer issues are escalated

There are several common reasons why customer issues may escalate:

Transfer to another expert

Sometimes, customers are transferred from one customer service representative to another due to a lack of expertise from the agent handling the call. This can be normal, especially in IT support levels.

However, each transfer may increase the customers’ frustration, as they need to repeat their issue multiple times ahead.

Multiple attempts in an issue

Based on statistics, 14% of customers identify the calls they make in a company as complaints. Dealing with these complaints can be more complicated when customers call about it multiple times.

If a customer has made several attempts to resolve their issue without success, they are likely to become increasingly frustrated.

Continuously repeating the same problem can lead to anger and a higher chance of escalation.

Irate customers

Certain customers may exhibit irate behavior from the start. They may be confrontational, disrespectful, or overly demanding.

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In some cases, an angry customer may downright demand to speak to a higher authority, such as supervisors or managers.

Handling these customers requires additional skill and patience to prevent the situation from escalating further.

How to de-escalate an angry customer

While escalation can be necessary at times, escalation from irate customers becomes a different issue. This situation must be handled as soon as possible.

You can apply the three Rs in de-escalating a situation: respect, reflect, and respond. This can be divided in various ways.

Let’s dive into the seven steps you can follow to de-escalate an angry customer effectively:

Step 1: Keep calm

When faced with an angry customer, it’s essential to remain calm and composed. Remember that the customers’ anger is not personal. They are upset about a situation or problem they believe needs to be addressed.

Taking a deep breath and maintaining a calm demeanor will help defuse tension and set the tone for productive communication.

Step 2: Listen actively to customers

Active listening plays a crucial role in resolving conflicts with customers. Give angry customers your undivided attention and demonstrate empathy.

Let them vent their frustrations without interruption, and show that you genuinely care about their concerns.

Angry Customer with Mechanic in an auto repair shop
How to de-escalate an angry customer

Step 3: Mirror their concerns

One effective de-escalation technique is to mirror the customers’ concerns. Repeat back the main points they’ve expressed to show that you understand their frustration and acknowledge their perspective.

Reflecting on their concerns helps validate their feelings and demonstrates that you are actively listening and engaged in finding a resolution.

Step 4: Script your response

Prepare a script or framework that you can use to respond to the customers’ concerns. You may include a few complimentary words to help lighten their mood.

Make sure your response is empathetic and concise and addresses the core issues raised by customers. Having a well-crafted response can keep the conversation focused and prevent you from getting sidetracked.

Step 5: Try to identify various solutions

Collaborate with customers to identify potential solutions to their problems. Offer different options and ask for their input to find a resolution that meets their needs.

By involving the customers in the problem-solving process, you empower them and make them feel heard and valued.

Step 6: Avoid putting customers on hold

Putting angry customers on hold can escalate their frustration and make the situation worse. Delegate tasks or seek assistance from colleagues without making the customers wait for long periods.

If you must put a customer on hold, make sure to communicate the reason clearly and offer an estimated time for your return.

Step 7: Ask for any other concerns

Before ending the conversation, ask the customers if there are any other concerns they would like to address. Giving them the opportunity to voice any additional issues ensures that their needs are fully addressed and helps prevent further escalations in the future.

De-escalating for customer satisfaction

Effective de-escalation techniques are vital for maintaining customer satisfaction. Through proper handling of a customer complaint, you can successfully navigate challenging situations, defuse anger, and turn negative experiences into positive ones.

Elite agents like those sourced by 123Employee can professionally handle this for you.

Angry businessman caller talking on phone disputing over computer problem
De-escalating for customer satisfaction

Remember, every interaction with an angry customer is an opportunity to build trust and loyalty and strengthen the reputation of your business.

The next time you encounter an angry customer, approach the situation with empathy, active listening, and a determination to find a resolution that satisfies both parties.

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