Even the most successful businesses receive calls from unhappy customers from time to time. Instead of letting these calls get you down, look at them as a way to improve your company’s reputation by handling them properly.

According to NewVoiceMedia’s 2018 “Serial Switchers” report, poor customer service costs businesses more than $75 billion a year. With that said, it’s important for businesses of all sizes to recognize the importance of delivering a better customer service experience. If an unhappy customer calls your business, here are five tactics for calming them down and providing a positive customer service experience.

  1. Listen to what they have to sayListening is the first step to solving the problem without making your customer even angrier. Before trying to diffuse the situation, make sure you fully understand what the problem is, and why they are angry. Once they’ve stopped talking, reflect and repeat what the problem is. Not only will this help you make sense of the problem, but it will also provide validation to the caller, which will serve to calm them down.

    In addition to listening to them, try to pay attention to what they’re not saying. Agitated people often have trouble properly describing their problems, so check call records to see if they’ve called about an issue before.

  2. Remember that it’s not personalWhen a caller is yelling, it’s perfectly natural to want to yell back or pass the call on to someone else. Instead, take a few deep breaths and remember that they are not mad at you. You should also put yourself in their place. If you had the same problem, you’d probably be pretty upset and angry yourself. If you speak in an even tone throughout the call, it can have a calming effect on the customer.

    If you find that you have a hard time staying calm with irate callers, consider hiring a live answering service to communicate with your customers, whether they’re happy and angry.

  3. Sincerely apologizeA sincere apology goes a long way when calming down an angry customer. An insincere one, on the other hand, could make the situation much worse. The more personalized your apology, the more heartfelt it will appear. Also, make sure to follow your apology with a specific plan of action by explaining how you plan to resolve the issue. 
  4. Don’t put an angry caller on holdIf you get weary of a caller’s anger, you may be tempted to press the hold button while you calm down. In fact, this is the worst thing you can do. It adds to the caller’s anger and can lead to poor reviews for your business.

    If you must pause to research a problem, talk the caller through it step by step. Doing this will show them that you truly care about the problems that they are facing, and that you are doing everything you can to help.

  5. Offer them something if possibleIf a problem cannot be easily fixed, a tactic that usually works is to offer the caller a discount, refund or voucher. If you give them choices, they’ll be more satisfied with the call even if their problem needs more time to be addressed. You should also tell them how soon their options can be implemented.

Also, be sure to report any threats

If an angry caller uses violent language or makes any threats, make sure to take them seriously and report them. Your safety is always number one, and you can never be too careful.