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Dealing with Cranky Customers

Train service staff to move from “Oh Fudge” to “Okay.”

(Boonton, NJ, June 1, 2015) — It’s happened to every customer service rep — they pick up the phone and the caller is angry, upset or abusive. If only all customers were in a calm and receptive state of mind.

Unfortunately, getting customers to that state isn’t always easy.

The secret, says Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen, is for the rep to take control of her emotions and then to help the customer regain control so that they can work together toward a solution.

In the June issue of The Customer Communicator newsletter, Goulston offers several strategies including what he calls moving from “Oh Fudge” to “Okay” or from panic to logic by using self-talk and breathing.

The first step is the “Oh Fudge” phase or the reaction phase, which is often an over reaction. The rep might say to herself, “OMG, this customer is terrible. This is a disaster. I’ll never be able to get through this.”

After acknowledging these feelings, the rep should breathe deeply and let go of the negative emotion.

The next step is the release phase, where the rep takes a moment to silently vent. She might say to herself, “This is a mess. I hate having to clean up these situations. Why does this always happen to me.”

After acknowledging these feelings, the rep should again breathe deeply and let go of the negative emotion.

The final step is to re-engage. Here the rep might say to herself, “Okay, I am ready to fix this.”

“It’s a way of talking yourself down from a potential over-reaction and getting yourself re-centered,” Goulston says. “And once reps have learned this process and go through it a few times, it will start to come naturally, whenever these situations present themselves.”


About the Customer Service Group

For more than 20 years, the Customer Service Group has helped customer service, call center and help desk managers increase productivity, improve service quality and boost customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention. The Customer Service Group publishes Customer Service Newsletter and The Customer Communicator.

Website: http://www.CustomerServiceGroup.com


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