Have you ever tried your best to help a customer, and the more you talked, the angrier they became? They may even yell at you and tell you that you're not listening!

If you have experienced this, you may have done either (or all) of these three things:

  • You really were not listening to the customer.
  • You were more concerned about what you needed from them, than what the customer said.
  • You used the wrong call skill.
Dealing with emotional customers should be expected, especially where money is involved. Thus, being prepared for the emotion can help taper your responses. Remember, all of what we do is about the Right Words, at the Right Time, in the Right Way.

Let's talk about the list above.

Listening skills are essential. And the person speaking determines if you are speaking. But what are you listening for exactly? We should be listening for not just what the customer is saying but also how they are saying it. What is the tone of the customer? What is their pace? Do you hear emotion building? Is the customer with you or have you left them in the conversation? Take strategic pauses to listen. Check for understanding. Validate if what you have said has been received the way you intended. 

Being more concerned about what you need from the customer versus what the customer is saying, then you are essentially not listening to the customer. Often, if you set aside what you need and listen to what the customer is saying, you will find how to present “your needs” to the customer in a way they own it. 

Finally, using the wrong call skill can result in a bad outcome. Missing the emotion altogether, can increase the emotion on the customer’s side as well as lengthen the call. Treating emotion like an objection can also hinder the call. Overall, we have to listen effectively to know what call skill to use and when to use it. This will result in an effective call. 

We have to listen to the customer before responding, establish the skill that needs to be used and implement it well. This will help to alleviate a situation with a screaming customer and prevent further escalation on the call.