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7 Proven Tips to Deal With Difficult or Angry Customers

Dealing with a difficult or angry customer can be tricky, yet it is a common occurrence in the customer service industry. And because it happens so often, customer service employees and agents need to be prepared to deal with such customers. In this post, we discuss 7 proven tips to help you deal with difficult customers while doing your job effectively!

Dealing with Angry Customers? Try These 7 Tips

Quite often customer service teams are not trained specifically to deal with angry or difficult customers. This can lead to conflicts and the loss of a potentially valuable customer. For this reason, it is important to practice the below tips so you are better equipped to work with difficult customers.

1. Adopt Active and Reflective Listening

The first step to dealing with an angry customer is identifying the issue. And to do so, you need to listen carefully. Listen to your customer actively to identify what their concern is so you can find the appropriate solution. Another tactic is reflective listening where you pay attention to what the other is saying and then respond by reflecting the thoughts and feelings heard. For example:

Customer: “I’m annoyed because your service has the features we need but does not fit our budget.”
Agent: “What I understand is that your budget is limited and we are not offering you any discounts or promotions that fit your requirement.” Or, “Tell me more so that I can understand better and find the right solution for you.”

When you are practicing reflective listening, be careful not to promise a definitive solution to the problem. For issues such as pricing, you will need to check with supervisors and managers before you give the customer exactly what they need. But when interacting with the difficult customer, you must focus on listening and identifying the issue while making them feel heard.

2. Keep Calm and Focus on the Process

It is easy in a hostile situation to lose your calm (even slightly) and get nervous. However, remember that conflict and disagreement are common in business. But how you respond to conflict is essential because it determines your relationships with your employers as well as your customers.

Even in the heat of the moment, make an attempt to treat your customers with respect and consideration. Lower your voice, take deep breaths, and maintain a professional tone. Additionally, try to resolve disputes while over the phone. And ask for help, if you need it.

3. Try to Genuinely Empathize with the Customer

Besides listening to the angry customer, try to empathize with them. Call them by their name, instead of “sir” or “ma’am.” Pull up their customer records so that you know their history with the company. Make them feel heard and valued and treat them as an individual person as opposed to just another customer. This can go a long way in calming the customer down and arriving at a solution.

Related: 23 Incredible Customer Service Tips for 2022

4. Use Support Resources

Most businesses should have some kind of knowledge base or support center that agents and employees can use when dealing with difficult customers. If your company does not have one, it may be helpful to suggest it. This knowledgebase can help you:

  • Walk customers through common processes
  • De-escalate conflict with useful strategies
  • Set up audio/video recording
  • Get help from a fellow employee or supervisor

5. Demonstrate That You Are Taking Their Issue Seriously

Provide realistic solutions and avoid sounding monotonous. If you are repeating a script that you use with other customers without personalizing it, the customer will recognize this and become even more agitated. You need to demonstrate that you are taking their case seriously without simply saying it.

6. Don’t Take it Personally

This is hard to do when certain angry customers target their anger towards you instead of the issue they are facing. However, remember that this is not a personal problem. At the end of the day, the customer does not know who you are. And since you are the only way they can interact with the company, their anger is targeted towards you. Avoid taking it personally and attacking the customer back. Instead, apply the above tips to diffuse the tension.

7. Follow Up and Ask for Help, if Needed

Finally, if the problem is above your paygrade or the interaction gets too intense, then it may be prudent to ask a co-worker or manager for help. Let the angry customer know that you will contact them again with a solution or to follow up, and make sure that you do.

Related: 9 Best Customer Service Examples for 2022

Dealing with Difficult Customers Can Be Hard, But Not Impossible

Different customers will require different methods of interaction. Similarly, dealing with angry customers needs time and patience. Use your discretion but learn from mistakes. And when in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask for help from managers and bosses who may be able to offer additional options for handling tricky situations properly.

What Is a Chief Customer Officer and What Do They Do?

Looking for your next job in customer service management? A Chief Customer Officer (CCO) might be your calling. In this post, we look at what a CCO does and how to become one successfully.

Chief Customer Officer (CCO): Job Description

A Chief Customer Officer, also known as a Chief Client Officer, is the executive responsible for an organization’s relationships with their customers. The CCO is responsible mainly for developing and implementing a customer-first strategy for the business they work for.

This means that CCOs influence various departments and functions within the business such as:

  • Customer Success
  • Customer Service
  • Technical Support
  • Customer Marketing
  • Customer Retention
  • Customer Expansion
  • Onboarding

The main goal of a Chief Customer Officer is to increase customer satisfaction and lifetime value. To do so, a CCO should have on-field experience as well as practical and technical knowledge of how things work in their industry. A CCO is usually responsible for five key metrics:

  1. Revenue Retention — calculated by subtracting lost revenue, known as revenue churn, from total revenue in a certain time period.
  2. Customer Lifetime Value – the revenue that a business can expect from a single customer account.
  3. Customer Health Score – a high score indicates that a positive outcome is likely.
  4. Net Promoter Score – the percentage of customers that are likely to recommend your company.
  5. Renewal Rate – the percentage of revenue that was renewed in a certain time period.

What do CCOs Do?

Since the end goal is to improve customer success, a Chief Customer Officer might dabble in many aspects of a business’s functions. These may include:

  • Working with developers to create new products
  • Managing customer-facing employees
  • Overseeing customer marketing efforts
  • Encouraging customer service and customer success managers
  • Working closely with customer service reps

Chief customer officer organizational structure

Chief Customer Officer vs Chief Commercial Officer

There are differences between Chief Client Officers and Chief Commercial Officers. The first major difference is that Chief Commercial Officers are in charge of the entire customer-facing operation. This includes marketing, sales, customer success, and technical support. Chief Customer Officers, on the other hand, deal solely with existing customers. This includes customer success and support.

Another major difference between Customer Officers and Commercial Officers is related to the size of an organization. Chief Commercial Officers exist primarily in larger B2B organizations. On the contrary, organizations of all sizes and types are likely to have Customer Officers. So, the two roles are quite different.

Organizational Structure

In most organizations, Chief Client Officers are part of the c-suite. This means that they report directly to the CEO. In other organizations, the Chief Client Officer reports to the Chief Customer Officer, who reports to the CEO. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to customer management.

Objectives of a Chief Customer Officer

Since Chief Customer Officers work closely with all departments of a business, they need to establish clear targets and standards to achieve their goals. Some targets a CCO should aspire to include:

1. Setting Clear and Practical Goals
Unclear or unrealistic goals will lead to high expectations and low results. It is therefore important to set practical goals and ensure your teams understand what these goals are and how to achieve them. You may even choose to work with them closely and outline successful strategies they can adopt to reach their goals.

2. Encourage and Motivate Teams
Instead of ruling with fear, it is advisable to use positive reinforcement and incentives to encourage and motivate your teams. A team fearful of failing and struggling to approach its superiors for help will not lead to good results. Provide training, educational materials, workshops, and make yourself reachable and approachable.

3. Be Aware and Present
Show up. If you are not present and there for your employees, you will not be aware of their challenges, what they are struggling with, or what is happening in your company. And without this information, you won’t be able to create a healthy and supportive working atmosphere. A healthy and supportive workforce leads to happier customers.

4. Focus on Financial Targets
Lastly, focus on achieving financial targets such as the Gross Retention Number, Net Retention Number, and Services Gross Margin.

How to Become a Chief Customer Officer

As with every job, becoming a CCO means getting your priorities right and fitting the bill. Here are some things to keep in mind when developing your profile:

  1. Be customer-centric and customer-focused
  2. Position yourself to work with front-line teams
  3. Collaborate with teams as often as possible
  4. Place importance on customer feedback
  5. Demonstrate effective conflict resolution skills

There are many job boards where you can apply to become a Chief Customer Officer: Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor are among the most popular.

The Career Path of a Chief Customer Officer

The career progression of a chief customer officer involves a number of customer-facing roles. These roles can include being a customer support representative, a customer success manager, VP of support, and much more. However, some CCOs will assume the role without prior customer-facing experience, but with extensive business experience.

What is the Salary of a Chief Client Officer?

According to Salary.com, the average salary of a chief client officer or chief customer officer in 2024 ranges from $205,600 and $268,200. The job is well paid due to its importance.

CCOs Lead to Good Customer Management

The main goal of a Chief Customer Officer is to improve the way a business interacts with its customers. This ranges from product development to marketing to customer success strategies. If being a CCO is your calling, then it may be time to get the wheels moving in that direction and develop a strong foundation. Good luck!

5 Ways to Win Back Your Post-Pandemic Customers

It’s true that the COVID-19 pandemic put a wrench in our plans to grow this year. Yet, instead of being disheartened about the current state of your business and future prospects, now is the time to see how you can reinvent your company and keep your customers.

This means: developing a post-pandemic customer support strategy.

In this post, we will look at creative and successful ways to bring your post-pandemic customers back to your business.

How to Provide Excellent Post-Pandemic Customer Support

To ensure that your customer relationships outlast the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to have a customer-first strategy. This includes understanding what your customers need from you and how you can offer that in a safe and secure way. Take time to devise a post-pandemic customer support strategy in a way that elevates your customers and your customer support team. Let’s look at these 5 ways to win back post-pandemic customers.

1. Gather New Customer Insights & Preferences

The first step to implementing a customer-first strategy for your post-pandemic customers is focusing on what they need. Gather information about customer insights and preferences by asking them, conducting social media polls, and getting your marketing team on task. Brainstorm ways in which you can surprise your customers or make them feel valued. Thank you notes or emails, complimentary presents for using your service, etc., are some ways to get their attention and make them feel welcomed.

2. Demonstrate What You Are Doing to Stay Safe

Since individual and collective safety is of utmost importance at this time, you will need to show your customers what your business is doing to stay safe. Social media posts and an email detailing your safety plan can go a long way in gaining their trust. Some ways to display good and safe practices include:

  • Mandating face masks when in your store
  • Maintaining social distancing
  • Ensuring the availability of hand sanitizers
  • Offering flexible return to business policies
  • Keeping your website and online transactions secure from hackers
  • Highlighting employee safety regulations; what employees are doing to stay safe and healthy

All of this information not only educates your customers about the virus and how your business is dealing with it but also helps them trust you and your employees enough to make a purchase.

3. Offer Multichannel Communication & Support

Another key element to include in your post-pandemic customer support strategy is to make your business available via multiple channels. Besides offering phone and email support, you may even consider other channels of communication. For example, instant messaging, social media engagement, live chat, and video conferencing. Video conferencing can go a long way in interacting with a potential customer, doing product demonstrations, and securing their purchases.

4. Prepare for Antsy and Worried Customers

Now this one is important. There is general anxiety all over the world right now. And so, your customers may be angry, worried, or antsy. But be mindful and respectful of this. Treat them with kindness. Be prepared with solutions to their issues and concerns. And you will gain global customers for the long-run.

5. Make it Easy for Customers to Come Back to Your Business

Encourage your post-pandemic customers to come back. It is not going to be easy, which is why your business must attempt to make it convenient for them to return. Shower them with deals and promotions, membership programs, let them know how much you miss them. These actions will reap results in the future when everything opens up again.

Prepare For When the Pandemic is Over

Take time to improve your business’ post-pandemic customer support. Remember that even if customers do not immediately start purchasing from your business, they will remember the above initiatives when the pandemic is over. They will know that your business did everything it could to ensure safety and customer satisfaction, and that will also influence them to come back. Work now so that when COVID-19 is gone, your business is the first thing customers think about!

Earning the Trust of Your Customers: Why It’s a Long-Term Investment

One of the most, if not the most, important aspects of the customer experience is based on trust. Customers simply will not do business with a company they do not trust. Today, consumer trust is sadly at an all-time low. This is not due to a single event or even a handful of events, but instead, due to a slow and painful chipping away at the relationships between businesses and consumers. Relationships can be long-lasting depending on how you nurture them which is why earning the trust of your customers is so important.

Every time a company makes a customer repeat themselves multiple times, wait on hold for an unreasonable amount of time, fill out a pile of paperwork or complete any other extraordinarily frustrating task, the customer loses a bit of trust in the company. And without trust, there is no relationship between a customer and the company.

Why Earning Trust is Important in Customer Relationships

Many companies are hyper-focused on getting tasks accomplished quickly. There are a lot of discussions related to streamlining processes and finding ways to become more efficient. It all sounds great in theory until you realize that the operational efficiency many times works in complete counter to a quality customer experience. By trying to get through as many customers as possible in a short amount of time, you may increase your volume, but the company is also sacrificing personalized customer support, and this erodes customer trust in the company. Instead of a customer feeling like a human who is able to trust a company to help them solve any issue, a customer is left feeling like a number who is rapidly being pushed down an assembly line dubbed, “customer care.”

This is not the ultimate goal for a business to be successful. Instead, earning the trust of your customers should be at the core of every conversation and decision. Building trust doesn’t happen quickly or easily. A business must remain consistent in the messaging, understand the personas of those in their market, and deliver on promises made over time. When your customers and prospects trust you, they are more likely to invest in your brand. When you have their trust, you are also typically able to command a higher price for your goods and/or services and boost the lifetime value of each of your customers.

Earning the Trust of Your Customers
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 ID#100179306196

Strategies that Benefit Your Business in the Long Run

Here are some strategies in planning for earning the trust of your customers as a long-term investment:

Make yourself available to your customers for questions and concerns. Customers often have questions and if there is no way for them to get answers or they can’t get the answers in a timely manner, they will often go elsewhere.

Offer a product that is reliable. Selling something and boasting about all of the features is one thing, but delivering a product that is exactly what was promised is another thing. If you sell a low-quality product, it is sure to draw negative reviews and this can lead to a break in trust and a decrease in credibility within the market. Putting a product through rigorous testing is a good way to resolve this and ensure you are delivering a product that is high quality, as you have promised.

Other ways to earn the trust of your customers:

  • Be transparent
  • Bring value to your clients
  • Maintain consistency
  • Ensure your messaging is in line with your actions
  • Create consistent imagery across all of your marketing materials
  • Know your prospects
  • Deliver the expected brand experience

Earning the trust of your customers should be at the center of every strategic planning session and every action was taken by an organization because, without trust, a business cannot succeed.

We all know that trust is the precursor to any meaningful and long-lasting relationship. Buyers, ultimately, must put their faith in the companies and people they choose to do business with. Trust is a byproduct of commitment. It is the universal factor that will essentially make or break an opportunity. In mapping out a plan for earning the trust of your customers, you should aim to deliver the right results to the right people. In the long-term, they will trust you and your business and invest in your product and service offerings. Once you have carved out your identity within your market, stay on top of communications and back up everything you say with tangible actions. This is the path to business growth and success in any industry.

Ways To Make Your Customer Service Better

The best way to improve your relationship with your customers is to improve the way you provide customer service. Even if you have the best product on the market, people will remember if they were not treated well by your staff. If customer service is the face of your company, then you always want to make a good first impression. Companies that have been in business for a long time know the importance of having good customer relationships, and they constantly ask themselves how they can be making better customer service choices. Any good company knows the best way to grow a business is to consistently lookout for ways to improve customer service. After all, it’s much easier to keep an existing customer than to gain a new one, and loyal customers help their favorite businesses by marketing through word-of-mouth.

Read on to learn some tips on improving your customer service.

Listen to the customer’s wants and needs.

It might seem simple, but when you truly listen to someone, it not only helps you to understand their issues, it also shows great respect for the other individual. When a customer feels like they are being heard they will remember that feeling and how well they were treated. Your employees should not be going down a list of questions to get to the bottom of an issue, simply listen to the customer and what they have to say. Once you have fully heard them, you will be able to respond to them with the best solution for their issue.

Respond quickly to problems.

Customers don’t want to wait for anything, especially when they’re already not satisfied with something. If you are unable to provide the customer with exactly the response they need that day, at least acknowledge that you’ve heard their inquiry. If someone sends your company an email and you can’t resolve their problem without looking further into the issue, at least make initial contact with them to let them know that you are working towards a solution.

clients with manager
Source: Stockphoto.com O#1202 – ID#4910767

Provide support.

Never get angry with a customer because they do not have all the information that you need to help them out. Instead, provide them with as much assistance and support as you can until they can obtain all the necessary information. Treat every customer as if they are your next top brand ambassador. Staying calm with an irate customer is extremely important, too. Every time you interact with a customer you are establishing a relationship and creating a potential selling point.

Establish trust.

Customer and company relationships begin professionally, but once you have spent time on the relationship with them and have built loyalty you can go the extra mile for them. Showing that you care for your customer, like remembering his or her birthday, are small things that help to establish trust in your customer/ business relationship.

Train your employees.

It is important that all of your employees are trained in how to properly interact with customers. You should provide training for all possible situations, including how to deal with angry customers, and how to go above and beyond for loyal customers. Each time a customer comes to your store or calls your customer service line, they should know what to expect, and they should expect a pleasant experience.

Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity.

Yes, you want your company to grow and be successful, but if it happens too quickly, you might be headed towards a swift downturn. Some companies can survive a quick growth, but others are better off winning at a slow and steady pace. Organic word-of-mouth referrals can eventually be your best marketing strategy. And the best part is that word-of-mouth marketing is free! Slowly establish loyalty with the customers that you have and then sit back and watch your company expand into the company you’ve always wanted it to be. Good customer service is a powerful tool to not only get new customers but to keep them coming back.