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Top 7 Ways to Nail the Customer Who Tries to Push You Into a Corner

By Myra Golden

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Here are 7 little tips and tricks to help you get any angry customer to back down.

  1. Hang up on yourself. This is actually a fun little trick. When your customer is trying to manipulate you with anger or some other tactic, you can bring the conversation to an immediate, yet subtle, halt by hanging up on yourself. Do it this way, “So, I hear you saying you want $500 for pain and suffer-----CLICK! The customer will think the line went dead and you’ll be off the hook, at least for a couple of minutes. Use your brief interlude to regroup and to prepare a comeback strategy.

  2. Make the customer justify his demand. A lot of the time, the demands customers make are just silly and they put the demands out there just to see what they can get. Handle this by calling the customer on this “ploy”. Here’s how this might look: “How did you arrive at that figure?” And sit back and listen to your customer’s explanation. A few customers will have a justifiable reason for their request. But most will squirm at your request for justification.

  3. Put your foot down. I’m a big proponent of drawing the line on consumer error. Why should companies compensate customers when the problem was clearly the fault of the customer??? Here’s a great way to put your foot down: “We appreciate hearing about your experience, but we cannot compensate you in this matter because you failed to follow instructions/did not read instructions/misused the product.”

  4. Say, “That sounds a little high.” When your customer makes a ridiculous demand, don’t laugh in his face. Simply say, “That sounds a little high.” And then pause like a locked up computer. Your customer will become unconformable with your silence and I guarantee they will do one of two things: (a) make a more reasonable request, or (b) attempt to justify their request. Whichever way they go, you are in control.

  5. Use the “broken record” technique. If your customer is ranting, raving, or rambling and you feel you have lost control of the conversation, you can quickly regain control using the Broken Record technique. Simply repeat a sentence or phrase over and over again until your ranting customer hears you. It can be as simple as:


    o “Mr. Jones, what I can do is send you coupons for three bags of potatoes chips.”


    o Mr. Jones, what I can do is send you coupons for three bags of potatoes chips.”


    o Mr. Jones, what I can do is send you coupons for three bags of potatoes chips.”


    This example would be effective for the customer who is demanding more, but three coupons is your limit. The reason this technique works is that typically, repeating yourself, verbatim, in a non-confrontational tone, will force the upset customer to stop talking – if for no reason – than to get you to stop repeating yourself. It’s very much psychological.

  6. Say nothing. When a customer tries to bait you with a raised voice, profanity, or anger, a great tactical response is to just say nothing. Don’t let the customer even hear you sigh. Your dead silence will eventually make the customer feel uncomfortable and he or she will either stop talking or shape up. You’ve got to try the “say nothing” technique the next time you’re dealing with an angry customer. It works like magic.

  7. Give your “final answer” and be done with it. When you know the customer is trying to push you into a corner, don’t waste time. Just get to the point and end the conversation like this: "We've given this a great deal of thought, and it's the best we can do. Any more and this simply won’t make good business sense."

For hundreds of tips, tactics, and techniques for dealing with difficult customers and free online video tips, visit the customer service training resource portal by going to http://www.totalcustomerservicetraining.com


Myra Golden is an award-winning professional speaker and principal of Myra Golden Seminars, LLC, a customer service training firm serving clients in food and beverage, banking, healthcare, hospitality, and other industries. Her client list includes McDonald’s, Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay, Michelin Tires, Pirelli, and Procter & Gamble, among many others.

Source: http://Top7Business.com/?expert=Myra_Golden

Article Submitted On: August 21, 2007