8 Steps to Deal with Tricky Customer Calls

March 24, 201710min

If you’ve ever worked in a customer facing role, you’ll know it’s not all plain sailing. No matter how much you want or try to help a customer there are still other obstacles preventing you from doing so.

Whether the obstacles are there because of company policy, due to an individual circumstance or even the stubbornness of a customer there are ways you can deal with these situations. With the help of select business, HR, and anger management experts, we’ve put together our eight top tips for dealing with tricky customer calls.

1. Look After Yourself First

Before you start worrying about anything to do with your job, you have to make sure you’re looking after yourself. A call center, in particular, can be a very stressful work environment and it pays to make sure you can detach yourself from it in your home life. Anger Management Specialist at Mind and Power, Eileen Lichtenstein, believes plenty of rest and a healthy dose of mindfulness can help:

“Sleep is important – you should have 7 hours at least. It can be helpful to relax before sleep without devices. Focus on deep breathing and clearing mind and/or positive visualizations. If you’re too agitated to do this, doing a progressive muscle relaxation is helpful to release muscle tension and prepare the body to relax.”

2. Be Prepared

As much as you have a responsibility to make sure you’re ready for the job, your employer also has certain responsibilities to make sure you’re prepared for any potentially difficult situations. Business Consultant at S and E Consulting, Armando Alcaraz, explains what you should expect from your company:

“Make sure you have clear guidelines and company policies. You can also ask for appropriate training and feedback on the job. Clarity of what you need to do or who you need to ask always makes the job easier and can reduce the stress that comes with it.”

3. Don’t Take it Personally

Never lose sight of the context of the situation you’re in. This is not a personal phone call, and if you do have to deal with a difficult customer, the first thing to remember is that none of this is personal. Remember the customer isn’t annoyed specifically at you, but rather at an experience they’ve had individually. Tish Squillaro, the author of the self-help book Mindtrash,explains how she rationalizes customer anger:

“One of the frustrations for everyone else who deals with an angry person is that you think you did something to create the anger. But here’s the secret. The anger was there from the beginning, and it keeps festering. In addition, sometimes angry people may have had their feelings pent up just waiting for something to set them off, and a simple thing that the call center worker said may have been the cause.”

4. Let Them Vent

Some customers just need to let it out. They will already have prepared an idea of what they want to say to get it off their chest no matter how you respond, so often it’s just best to let them get if off their chest. There’s no need to interrupt and antagonize them, just make sure you’re noting what their frustrations are so you can address them all after. Customer Experience Expert, Shep Hyken, agrees that you should simply listen:

“If a customer is complaining and angry, let them vent. Most likely they aren’t mad at you personally. Ask them questions to show that you care. Don’t add to their aggravation. You might ask them to repeat the problem just to make sure you understand. Be a good listener.”

5. Bring Your Call Back to Life with C.P.R

Sometimes when you’re in the midst of a tough situation all your training can get lost. So, keep it simple. If your phone call is in cardiac arrest, Gene Caballero, co-founder of GreenPal says just remember these three simple letters:

“I always use the C.P.R technique:
– Comprehend – what happened that made the customer upset
– Purpose – give the angry customer options on how to fix the situation
– React – once the actions have been agreed upon, react, and fix the problem. “

6. Be Honest and Assertive

Although you need to make sure you’re open and helpful, you also need to be assertive, especially with difficult customers. That doesn’t mean getting argumentative, but rather being clear on company policies and what you can do to help from the outset. If you start changing your mind or being unsure of yourself then the customer will sense your uncertainty. Eileen Lichtenstein expands on the importance of honesty:

“If you make a mistake on a call with a customer, it is important to admit the mistake and apologize to restore faith and confidence in you. Throughout a difficult conversation (in person or on the phone) it is important to stay in the assertive, friendly mode without being aggressive or defensive.”

7. Escalate It

If you don’t feel you can resolve the issue, then you may need to escalate the issue. Your manager is trained to deal with volatile customers and will probably have more experience. Use their experience to help both you and the customer if a situation has become too volatile. Director of Human Resources at Dupray, Pierre Tremblay, give his advice on escalation:

“It’s actually better to end the call as soon as possible to avoid escalation. The ramifications for failing to assist the customer will never outweigh the avoidance of inappropriate behavior. Escalate any information from the call to your supervisor and to HR, immediately and without hesitation. Keeping them aware of the situation will keep you out of trouble.”

8. Don’t Put Up with Abuse

Some customers are just too difficult to handle and you don’t need to put up with abuse. If a customer starts getting verbally abusive then tackle them and let them know you will not continue the call if they continue acting in such a manner. Camille Charbonneau, Mental Performance Consultant at Peak Perform, believes the key in such situations is staying calm and professional:

“Don’t fight fire with fire. Fighting fire with fire will just get you worked up for nothing. Accept it and be non-judgmental to the correspondence. Be respectful and answer professionally otherwise you may get stressed for a silly reason.”

 Interesting Links:



With more than 20,000 customers in over 200 countries,TollFreeForwarding.com is the number one provider of international virtual phone numbers and international call forwarding services in the world. Founded in 2002, TollFreeForwarding.com is a technology-driven international telecommunications provider based in Los Angeles, California.

Inform. Inspire. Include.
A free way to improve your business.

Customer Experience Magazine is the online magazine packed full of industry news, blogs, features, reports, case studies, video bites and international stories all focusing on customer experience.



UK Trademark UK00002648900

EUIPO Trademark 018131832

Contact Information

For article submissions:
Paul Ainsworth

For general inquiries, advertising and partnership information:
Tel: 0207 1932 428

For Masterclass enquiries:
Tel: +44 20 86385584

Customer Experience Magazine Limited
Company number: 12450532
International House, 24 Holborn Viaduct,
United Kingdom, London, England, EC1A 2BN


Find a job in customer support with Jobsora


cbd oil: cbd oil side effects on kidneys 99 order online do you have to be 21 to buy cbd jeffs best cbd oil cbd provisions menu dab means in english sunday scaries vaping cbd oil dosage barleans cbd oil review marijuana vs cbd oil cbd disposable vape wide by side nc cbd hemp flower can you bring cbd oil to school sparoom cbd oil reviews will you fail a drug test from cbd oil cbd plantar fasciitis proven medical benefits of cannabis cbd oil for inflammation dosage define 101 cbd oil virginia 2017 cbd body wash hemp seeds for cbd how much cbd should you take for anxiety cbd pure discount code cbd oil for neuropathy reviews cbd magazines maximum time frame to take cbd oil thc levels in cbd cbd oil articles pain meaning marys medicinals cbd patch clear chronic website cbd oil with coconut oil skin simply naked thc consuming cbd oil in a high security environment hemp oil weight loss testimonials coconut oil cannabis pills lisa halpert cas background cannavest cbd oil capsules rheumatoid arthritis toes pictures cbd oil in smoke shops in downriver mi aromaland cbd oil does bluebird cbd oil have thc in it images of cbd oil which kind of cbd oil will help with sleep animal form and function effect of cbd oil giggles what does main stand for what strength of cbd oil should i take for stroke symptoms caligarden cbd oil cbd isolate to oil recipe what is marijuana definition best cbd oil inexpensive sds page non reducing

male enhancement: sex in lift walgreens clm how to intensify orgasm virgil hunter bio cymbalta testosterone does andro 400 work als erectile dysfunction do tall men have big dicks cures for impotance how to wash your penis alternative to viagra and cialis average chinese dick size missed dose antibiotics what is top sexually stretched penis cocaine and erections penis exercises before and after penis performer new penis enlargement surgery how to get a bigger flaccid penis erect jelqing what is a cockring pictures of male penius member penis how to increase testosterone level penile pump for impotence extenze plus review best men vitamin extenze for ed just for him hours average dicksize for a 16 erect what is levitra used for purple viagra bathmate gains hcl medicine how to enlarge my pennis naturally snapchat pill mens sexual health best ed vacuum pumps massive testo price blood pressure and erections sildenafil how long does it last herbs for blood flow erectile dysfunction in teens ginseng for men how to make a guy last longer in bed adderall erectile dysfunction what is this medicine used for underlying def viagra without a doctor prescription smile more merch male enhancement herbal supplements cordyceps gnc big penis experience monster x pills side effects penis enlargment girth

vape: vape conventions what is vaping pot how to quit smoking with vape cigar vape ultimate vape deals review vapor rub for sore throat best budget dry herb vape bogo vape pen instructions 20 dollar vape pens ecig forums true co2 vape pen smok mod kits caviar gold how to tell if someone is vaping vapor barrier ceiling cherry lime vape juice atlantic water vapor loop vaping conventions 2015 tacos al vapor near me second hand vape 2017 cooler master tpc 812 ice melon vape juice ecig coupon codes smok pro color kit best value ecig voopoo drag amazon pay coupon for truman ecig jewel ecig rear diff vape juice 150 watt vape box boulder vape juice online best 510 tank vapo e cigarette voopoo drag 2 open lucky strike e cigarette freemax twister e solid gel for electronic cigarette how does vape pen work vaping mouth cancer e cigarette singapore ban rebuildable vape kit vaping with sore throat vape usb smok nord aio charlies chalk dust campfire 510 e cigarette batteries smok t priv starter kit voopoo newbie kit smok v8 t10 coils zombie mod ecig smok osub 80w baby voopoo drag skull skin uwell t2 tank coils what does novo mean voopoo drag custom theme files smok verification code location

weight loss: apple cider vinegar weight loss recipe loss weight and build muscle gabriel iglesias weight loss weight loss mantras weight loss app 3010 weight loss cost weight loss excercise programs slim fire forskolin quinoa benefits weight loss slimquick weight loss pills whole foods weight loss zach galifianakis weight loss diet stomach weight loss exercises secret weight loss pills sean murray weight loss 2016 6 month workout plan for weight loss effective exercise for weight loss wellspring weight loss daniel fast weight loss natural weight loss vitamins newborn baby weight loss earheart healthy weight loss complaints maria antonieta collins weight loss abdominal pain and weight loss antioxidants weight loss where can i buy acxion diet pills patch for weight loss juicing diets for weight loss 3 week weight loss results almased weight loss 21 day weight loss breakthrough recipes naples weight loss is apple vinegar good for weight loss gluten off pills to lose weight tea recipe for weight loss guava leaf tea weight loss effective weight loss pills 2015 diet suppressants pills cider vinegar pills weight loss weight loss nutritionist near me where can i buy nv clinical diet pills randy jackson weight loss top diet pills in stores epilepsy and weight loss pills top 5 diet pills that really work 3 liters of water a day weight loss diet pills 411 weight loss powder drinks natural weight lose pills ashley benson weight loss can you snort adipex eggs for weight loss golo side effects ali weight loss aid good fat burning pills best bee pollen pills for weight loss