How to handle shouting customers

When an angry customer phones your contact centre, there are only two possible outcomes. The customer will either be appeased and calm down, or be frustrated further and potentially drop your business. Angry or upset customers will often shout down the line, bewildering inexperienced customer support staff. By strategically placing your answers and using empathy, you can relax customers and restore their faith in your business.

Understanding why people shout:

Especially with grief-stricken or struggling customers, shouting is an outlet for their inner turmoil. Anger is not a persons’ usual emotion. More often than not they are stuck in a difficult position. Financial or emotional – you can find a similar experience in your life and use it to empathize with them.

How to get them to stop shouting:

It is impossible to help someone who is consistently yelling down the phone line. Here are a few simple pointers to help calm angry customers down.

1. Wait

Until you’ve heard their full story and borne the brunt of their anger, they will not stop yelling. Before talking, wait until they have stopped yelling. If they start again then repeat the process.

2. Understanding

Everyone wants to be heard and understood. This phrase, ‘I understand, that sounds really difficult’, shows you take them seriously and assures them you care.

3. Do not use technical speak

There is nothing worse than making a customer feel stupid. If you use complicated language or industry jargon, they will be likely to start shouting again.

4. Never say ‘calm down’

The phrase, ‘calm down’, is well know to infuriate people further.

Taking it further:

As soon as a customer has stopped yelling long enough for you to show your understanding, it’s time to move to the next step. It is essential to speedily resolve their problem. Taking immediate action will project professionalism and competence. Use action words and avoid weak words like, ‘maybe’. If you are unsure of how to proceed, explain clearly that you need to contact the manager and will return the call shortly.

Handling shouting customers is a tricky task, but if done correctly, it can build a stronger emotional connection. By providing the best support for your angry customers, you will organically increase your customer base.