Understand that customers are irate because what they thought was going to happen didn’t: they’re “hurt.” When you know a customer is upset, immediately give them permission to vent their frustration; and they will want to—you can count on that!
Customer: (Angrily): This is the third time I’ve called about this.
You: I get the feeling you’re upset.
Customer: You bet I’m upset! Why do you people always do this to me? I’ve called in, been passed to three or four people…and it’s very frustrating.
You: Boy, I can see why you’re frustrated. Why don’t you tell me about it…
You have allowed the customer to vent his or her frustration completely, before trying to solve the problem. The customer will not deal with you “intellectually” when you attempt to solve the problem without first allowing him or her to release emotions. Of course, you won’t be taking any of the customer’s words to heart―you’re simply allowing the customer to voice his/her frustrations so that he/she will be in a better state to allow you to provide solutions to his/her problems.
The three most important words to follow when using this venting technique are, “Nuture, Nurture, Nurture.” Until your customer is allowed to fully vent, you must not try to handle the problem rationally, calmly, and intellectually because they will not be listening to you – their angry feelings will be in the way.
Bottom line: People attack because they’re hurt and disappointed. And when people do attack you, learn to “keep your belly-button covered” (don’t take it personally!).