1. Be assertive, not aggressive or passive. My definition of affirmation is simple: “Say what you mean, say what you say and don’t be mean when you say it.” Let this rule guide your conversations with all customers and you will always be safe, calm and in control AND you will always be professional.
2. Speak more slowly. You will be amazed at the clarity with which you can think and the control and confidence you feel when you consciously slow down your speaking rate. Speak slowly and methodically when your emotional triggers come into play and you’ll keep your balance during difficult conversations.
3. Wait 1-2 seconds before answering. Responding immediately to difficult or tactical customers can make you say something you will later regret. Before answering, take a deep breath, wait at least 2 seconds and think about the best answer and the best approach.
4. Take a break. When you feel your buttons have been pressed, pause. You can tell the customer that you need to put him on hold while he examines a file, or whatever excuse sounds good at the time. The point is to get away from the customer for a few seconds so they can regroup.
5. Use positive internal dialogue. On this I will sound like Dr. Phil, but I mean it. Instead of saying to yourself, “I’m not getting paid enough to put up with this ____.” Say something more positive like “This guy really needs my help”. Thinking more positively helps you respond more positively and professionally. Negative thoughts lead to negative words and it becomes a very negative situation.
6. Show your power before using it. Often a subtle hint of his “power” is far more effective than the direct use of his power. As a customer service professional, you may have the power to end a phone call. You might say to your client, “If you don’t stop screaming, I’ll finish this call.” But believe it or not, it’s much more “powerful” if you say, “I want to help you, but when you scold me and interrupt me, it makes it hard for me to work with you.” The latest statement demonstrates his power and his message is finally conveyed. The above statement runs out of all your ammo and generally doesn’t dispel an angry customer.
These incredibly simple tips will help you stay calm when customers get horny!