The 5 Habits We Must Dodge When De-escalating Angry Customers

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When a customer is unhappy, how you respond can distinguish between a minor hiccup and a full-blown escalation. Here are five things you should avoid when dealing with upset customers.

One. Refusing to Admit the Customer’s Perspective

Never tell a customer they are wrong. If you tell a customer they’re wrong, they may feel compelled to argue with you. Even on minor issues, it can be challenging to change people’s minds, so don’t tell your customers they’re wrong, even if they are indeed mistaken.

**Takeaway** Always validate the customer’s feelings and perspective, even if you disagree.


Two. Engaging in Arguments

Never argue with a customer. You will never win an argument with your customers, no matter how right you may be. While you might be able to prove your point and have the last word, changing your customer’s mind is unlikely to be successful.

**Takeaway** It’s not about proving that you’re right. It’s about making the customer feel valued and heard.


Three. Using an Authoritative Tone

Refrain from speaking authoritatively as if you have to prove the customer wrong. Even when the customer is wrong, this approach is inappropriate, as it will put the customer on the defensive.

**Takeaway** A calm, empathetic tone can help defuse the situation and reassure the customer that you’re there to help.


Four. Shutting Down the Conversation

Instead of saying, “We would never do that,” try, “Tell me more about that.” This invites the customer to share their perspective and opens up the conversation rather than shutting it down. 

**Takeaway** Encourage open dialogue and active listening. This can help resolve issues more effectively.


Five. Being Reluctant to Say, “I’m sorry.”

Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m sorry.” Even when it is the customer’s fault, you can express regret. It is not an admission of fault but an expression of empathy to say, “I am sorry for any inconvenience this misunderstanding may have caused.”  

**Takeaway** Never underestimate the power of saying, “I’m sorry.”



Remember, the issue is not the issue. The way the issue is handled becomes the issue. When you avoid these five big mistakes, you can quickly preempt escalations, control calls, and guide conversations to closure!

 For more help handling difficult customers, check out my most popular training – De-escalation Academy!

Check Out Our Most Popular Training - De-escalation Academy!

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