How to calm down a problem customer
If you have every worked at any job where you talked to customers you probably have at least one story to tell about a problem customer.It is human nature to get upset or to loose one's temper in a distressing situation.Perhaps you can even remember a time when you were the problem customer.The fact of the matter is that when you are faced with that problem customer nothing else matters but to calm the situation.Below are a few suggestions that you can use when you are faced with your next uncomfortable problem customer situation.
Start with the customer's needs not your own
When you have a problem customer remember that there really is a problem to be solved in addition to calming down the individual.Listen to the customer's needs and get to the root of the problem.Obviously you want the customer to calm down but the best way to get him to do so is to hear him out.Talk about what he needs.
Get them to say yes
The best way to win someone over to your way of thinking is to ask them questions where you already know the answers.Customers who become "problems" are most likely average people who just got caught up in the moment and allowed their emotions to get away from them.Ask "I know that you're an intelligent and reasonable person, could we sit down talk about what the problem is and try to help you with what you need?" Yes, of course he is going to say yes.Another good question to ask is, "I hope you understand that our office made a mistake and that there was no malicious intent.Please, is there any way to make this situation better?"
Ask them what the customer would do if he were in your position
Many times when emotions are running high reason goes out the window.Customers sometimes make demands that are impossible to meet because their frustration has got the best of them.After you have calmed the customer down and have not come to an immediate solution consider asking the customer what he would do if he were in your (the manager/supervisor's) shoes.Many times the customer will respond with a well though out plan that makes sense for both parties.
Problem customers take time to handle.If you try to deal with a problem customer with the same efficiently that you would an assembly line, you are only going to magnify your problem.Customers are people, not machines.Many times they are unpredictable and when they are upset they can be irrational.Each situation with an upset customer is going to be different.Some will be easier than others to handle.
Do not get caught up in the emotion of the situation
Many times a problem customer will make some remarks that can be personally offensive.Remember that you are playing the role of the person of authority in this situation and as such you have to be able to dismiss comments that are off base. If you cannot maintain composure than you shouldn't be the one called on to take care of the problem customers.
Give the customer as many options as possible
Many times problem customers become upset because they feel like they have been manipulated or like they have not rights or choices in a given situation.When a customer knows that he has options and can exercise his right to choose for himself, he regains that sense of power that most problem customers yearn.Put the customer back in the figurative "driver's seat" of the situation and he will be much happier (just don't let him run over you!)