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 clients and you will always be confident, personable 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 speech. Speak slowly and methodically while your emotional triggers are unleashed and you will maintain your balance during difficult conversations.
3. Wait 1-2 seconds before answering. Responding immediately to difficult or tactical customers could make you say something that you will later regret. Before answering, take a deep breath, wait at least 2 seconds, and think about the best response and the best approach.
4. Take a break. When you feel like your buttons have been pressed, pause. You can tell the customer to put it on hold while they examine a file, or whatever excuse sounds good at the time. The point is to get away from the customer for a few seconds so that you can regroup.
5. Use positive self-talk. I’ll talk like Dr. Phil about this, 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 turn into a very negative situation.
6. Show your power before you use it. Often a subtle hint of your “power” is far more effective than direct use of your power. As a customer service professional, you may have the power to end a phone call. You can say to your client, “If you won’t stop yelling, I’ll drop this call.” But believe it or not, it is much more “powerful” if you say, “I want to help you, but when he yells and interrupts me, it makes it difficult for me to work with you.” The latest statement demonstrates his power and his message will surely get through. The first statement consumes all of your ammo and usually doesn’t spread to an angry customer.
These incredibly simple tips will help you stay calm when clients overheat!