Tips for Handling Difficult Customer Interactions

Tips for Handling Difficult Customer Interactions

Call center professionals looking at computers.

Whether it’s a customer asking for an impossible refund or expressing dissatisfaction with your product, learning how to handle difficult customer interactions is an essential part of running a call center.

Explaining De-Escalation Techniques for Call Center Services

De-escalation techniques are strategies that help customer service professionals navigate conversations with unhappy customers to prevent conflicts from reaching their breaking point. Utilizing them helps call center agents set clear, respectful boundaries to calm customer emotions and provide a better basis for resolving their concerns.

Call Center Customer Service Tips to De-Escalate Unhappy Customers

De-escalation is about understanding the customer and demonstrating empathy. Below are some techniques to help keep customers calm and satisfied while providing support:


Stay Confident

Having a sense of power and control is essential when dealing with difficult customers. Agents should have faith in their abilities to resolve problems and stay calm in the face of frustration. When reps remain confident during difficult conversations, it lets the customer know that they’re capable of helping them and that the agent takes their concerns seriously.

Script Your Response

Another de-escalation technique is to script responses by writing out responses that agents can use during challenging customer interactions. Scripting is a great way to stay on top of the situation and avoid improvising a response in the heat of the moment. Reps can also practice with a friend or colleague to make sure they’re effective in a real-life dialogue.

Listen Actively

As customers reach out to support agents, they often have one goal in mind, finding a solution to their problem. Although agents are there to help customers find a solution, it’s also important to ensure that they feel heard. That’s why it’s essential for agents to practice active listening strategies. When a customer is recounting their experience, reps should avoid interrupting them and acknowledge their concerns. Additionally, asking questions to clarify details and using validating language can help show that your agents are actively listening to them.

Mirror Their Complaint

Mirroring customer complaints is another important step in de-escalating difficult conversations with customers. By repeating their complaints to them, customers feel that agents are taking their concerns seriously and attempting to solve their problem. It also gives reps a chance to further explore the issue and ensure that the details are addressed before proceeding with a solution.

Identify the Root Cause

When customers call in with a complaint about a product or service, it’s not always clear what the source of their dissatisfaction is. In many cases, customers may be expressing their frustration with something else, like an advertisement they saw that promised something the product couldn’t deliver. It’s your customer support agent’s job to understand what the root cause of the dissatisfaction is so that they can provide the best possible resolution. One way to figure out the issue behind the complaint is by having agents ask targeted questions about the customer’s experiences. That way, reps can determine the best way to move forward.

Break the Problem Down

It can be hard to remain calm and courteous when faced with a particularly complex customer issue, but by breaking the problem down into smaller, more manageable chunks, call center support agents can de-escalate customer frustrations and provide them with tangible progress in resolving their issue. Additionally, breaking down the issue can also make it easier to address, which can help reps quickly solve their problem in a shorter amount of time.

Offer Sympathy

Customers often approach support agents to resolve their problems and seek confirmation that their frustrations are valid. It’s the rep’s responsibility to make sure they feel heard by sympathizing with their concerns and offering validation. One of the most effective methods is to use affirming statements. Support agents can use phrases like I totally understand how this experience has been frustrating for you. Let’s try to work together to find a solution to your concerns, or That sounds like a dissatisfying experience. I’m going to do my best to help you resolve this issue. These statements can help customers recognize the efforts of customer support agents as they attempt to assist them.

Be Realistic

Agents should also have realistic expectations when it comes to resolving customer problems and providing them with solutions. There are limits to what reps can do, and making promises that they may not be able to keep isn’t the way to go. Instead, agents should present solutions that are actually feasible, even if they don’t give customers the exact outcome they want.

Avoid Placing Customers on Hold

No one likes being put on hold, especially when they are already frustrated with a product or service. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for customers who call support centers to be routed through lengthy automatic voice messages or to be put on hold multiple times as they wait for agents or are transferred from department to department. Make sure your agents do everything they can to avoid easily exacerbating negative feelings they may already have about their experience.

You can improve the customer journey by partnering with a call center that uses best practices to create ideal experiences.

Experience Outbound Call Center Services That Put the Customer First

At ListenTrust, customer satisfaction is our top priority. We understand that customers have unique needs and we strive to create an experience that is tailored to each one. Our experienced call center agents are trained to listen to customers and develop a deep understanding of their concerns. By understanding their needs, our reps provide the best possible solution. Contact us today to learn more about our call center services.


Types of Customers & How to Approach Each One

Types of Customers & How to Approach Each One

Call Center

We are all customers at some point, and we all expect different things from our shopping experience. Some prefer to browse alone, while others need constant help and assistance to be happy. IT’s important to know what your customers want, and meet those expectations every time. Let’s explore 7 common types of customers, and how to approach each one with the biggest chances of a successful interaction and ideally, a sale!

1. Lookers & Browsers

Lookers are browsing your site or store, and are likely pricing out the different options. They are interested in a product, but haven’t chosen it yet. Dealing with lookers, means making your site or store look as attractive and intriguing as possible. Make sure your copy is compelling and innovative. Remove obstacles like pop-ups, ads and even AI chat-bots, as this can turn people off to your site.

2. Discount Hunters

93% of shoppers use coupons or coupon codes to get discounts each year. These customers want what they want, and they are seeking out the best price. While you can’t always offer the best price, you can give them added benefits that might overcome this issue. Make sure they understand the value in your product, by making your copy and prices clear. Show them the many benefits you offer, like excellent customer service or even free shipping.

3. Impulse Buyers

Impulse buyers have no plan, but do have a credit card and they are ready to use it. The best way to deal with impulse buyers, is to create a seamless experience for them, removing all obstacles. These shoppers love time-sensitive deals and crisp compelling copy, that makes up their mind for them.

4. Switchers

These customers are already involved with a competitor, and are finding their service wanting. They want to consider you as an alternative, and you must make this easy. First, determine what your competition is doing to turn off their customers, and then fill that gap within your own organization. These customers are looking for a long-term relationship, so show them how easy it is to work with you with great customer service and value for their money.

5. At-Risk Customers

58% of American consumers will leave a company due to poor customer service. These customers have purchased your product, but have abandoned it because they lost interest, went to the competition or got into something new. These customers can be identified by the amount of time between log-ins or purchases. To fix this issue, get in touch with them personally to ask what they need. This type of customer generally is open to discussion of their issues and pain points, and letting your fix them if you can.

6. Referrals

Referral customers come to you through a loyal customer, and expect great things of your service, before even using it. The loyal customer has made the sale, and know you need to live up to their expectations and the new customer expectations. Have a clear onboarding plan for these new customers, making the experience as smooth as possible. Referral customers love interaction and even first-time discounts, and when treated well, are sure to be your next loyal customers.

7. Unhappy or Dissatisfied

These customers are the most difficult to handle, and are not happy with you. You can find them in call centers, making complaints, and even putting negative reviews on social media. Deal with these customers carefully by taking them seriously. Reply to their comments on social media, using kindness and professionalism. Follow up with them after first contact to make sure you solved the issue. It’s critical that you are empathetic with these customers, and think of how you’d like to be treated in the same situation.

Every customer is different and has different needs. It’s important to tailor your services, products and communication to each type of customer, to achieve the best result. For help categorizing and optimizing for the best customer experience, contact the experts at ListenTrust today.

How to Deal with Angry Customers in a Call Center

How to Deal with Angry Customers in a Call Center

How to Deal with Angry Customers in a Call Center

Dealing with difficult customers is an unavoidable part of any business. All issues, however small, must be dealt with quickly, ideally to the customer’s satisfaction. It’s important that your staff are trained to help customers navigate their issues and find a solution quickly and professionally. Focusing your energies training staff to deal with unhappy customers is important for several reasons including:

  • Polite and efficient communication and issue resolution will help you retain an unhappy customer
  • Positive reviews and feedback from customers can be used for future marketing campaigns and look great to potential new customers
  • Your company can develop better products and processes, to prevent the issue from happening again.

5 Tips on How To Deal With Angry Customers

Angry customers are actually your greatest opportunity! Over 90% of those who receive a bad customer service experience won’t patronize that business again, but 68% of those same consumers would actually be willing to pay more to a company with excellent customer service. This article will explore 5 tips proven to help when dealing with difficult customers.

1. Listen

Simple, common-sense solutions like actively listening to an issue from a customer, could make the difference between a successfully handled issue and lost business. When face to face with customers, nodding, making eye contact, and taking notes during your conversation will show the customer you are listening and taking them seriously.

Dealing with difficult customers via phone or text is a bit more complex, as active listening is difficult to display. In this situation, take notes and repeat the customers’ words back to them, to show you are listening. Avoid the impulse to interrupt, even if you can solve their issue immediately. Listening is the greatest asset in your customer service quiver, so don’t underestimate how powerful your silence can be!

2. Don’t Take it Personally

Even though it’s natural to get defensive in a stressful situation of someone else’s doing, good customer service requires an extra bit of self-awareness, allowing you to separate yourself from the issue. Try adopting a mindset of you and the customer against the issue, and focus on finding a solution, together with the customer. Using language like “I’d like to help,” and “If I’m hearing you correctly…” can show an unhappy customer that you take them seriously, and will work to resolve their issue.

3. Show Empathy

Have you ever tried to calm someone down by telling them to “calm down?” It simply doesn’t work, many have discovered it too late when facing an angry wife or customer. People find it very calming when someone takes on their cause and shows empathy for the problem, and the stress it causes. Validate the caller or customer by telling them that you see the problem and will work to find a solution.

Many adopt the mantra “sympathize, empathize and apologize” in their conversations with unhappy customers. You can also share brief stories to show that you have experienced this type of situation before, and understand why it’s so upsetting. Verbalize your sympathy, and try summarizing the pain points back when dealing with difficult customers, to show you have a good understanding of the issue and are considering different solutions.

4. Try to Remain Calm

It’s important to detach from stressful situations, to give yourself the best chance of a successful resolution. Try to match the unhappy customer’s level of frustration with an equal amount of calm and empathy for their issue. Watch your tone carefully for any sarcasm, as this type of reaction is sure to escalate the situation. Try these tips proven to help you stay calm in stressful situations.

  • Focus on maintaining an even tone at all times.
  • Remember that the customer is angry at the situation, not you.
  • Think about how you would feel if this issue had happened to you, and treat the customer how you would like to be treated.
  • Take slow calming breaths while the customer is speaking.
  • Smile as you speak. People can even hear a smile through a phone!

5. Offer a Solution & Follow Up

At this point you’ve listened and should have a good idea of what the problem is and how to fix it. It’s important to offer a solution that satisfies the customer. Many issues can be solved simply by listening and offering empathy, but be prepared to offer some sort of compensation for the issue. The cost of a refund or shipping a new product to your unhappy customer will be negligible compared to the bad publicity of a bad review or online complaint. By following up with the customer after the transaction is complete, you leave them with a good feeling about your company and the service you’ve provided during a stressful time.

86% of good customer service interactions turn a one-time customer into a long-term, repeat customer. Unhappy customers could potentially be your biggest brand advocates if their issue is handled correctly.

For more information on how to deal with angry customers, or for help getting a professional customer service call center up and running, contact ListenTrust today. ListenTrust serves a wide range of customers in most key verticals including FSI, E-commerce, retail, education, and the medical industry. Take advantage of our years of experience, or one of our many other products or services designed to enhance your brand experience and ultimately, profits, and contact ListenTrust today.

Get Started by Contacting ListenTrust Today!

For more information, contact Tom Sheppard, VP Business Development, at:

Why Is It Important to Establish Rapport with Clients?

Why Is It Important to Establish Rapport with Clients?

build rapport with clients

If you’re in sales, customer service, marketing, consulting, running a small business, or work with an agency, or in any kind of customer/client-facing role, it’s likely you’ve heard of the importance of building rapport with clients. But what exactly does it mean to build rapport and why is this important? In this article, we will explore the importance of building rapport, its benefits, and how to foster this type of symbiotic, trusting relationship with clients.

Establishing rapport with clients boils down to one simple, yet crucial concept: Trust. Building trust with clients is a lengthy process, and no easy feat, yet paramount in any kind of business partnership. Putting in the work to build and maintain trust between you and your client is proven to be rewarding in a myriad of ways. Let’s unpack them.

Benefits of Building Rapport With Clients

Trust is a difficult thing to build, and an easy thing to lose. The world’s most successful businesses focus on building rapport that will allow them to offer a more intuitive product and maintain the trust customers put in them by continuing to invest in the business relationship. Let’s explore a few measurable benefits of building and maintaining excellent rapport with your clients.

1. More Sales

A whopping 89% of customers will make a repeat purchase after a positive customer service experience. Customers are more likely to invest in your product when you’ve invested in your relationship. If you’ve built rapport with your customer, they will enthusiastically reach out to you again and again for help, advice, and new products or solutions, even if you’ve yet to deliver results.

2. Better Reputation

A 2020 Walker study found that a great customer experience will trump price and even product quality, differentiating your brand with an immediate reputation for great and long-lasting relationships. Happy and trusting clients are more likely to provide positive reviews of your business, and recommend you to others, giving you the opportunity to win over even more clients.

3. Stand Out From The Competition

While some companies are forced to focus on simply keeping up with trends and staying current, others are taking advantage of the rapport they’ve built with their clients to work smarter, not harder. Consumers are loyal to both the best products and services, and businesses that value transparency, authenticity, and longevity of customer relationships.

How to Build Rapport With a Client?

Now that we understand a few of the crucial benefits of building excellent rapport with clients, let’s discuss a few easy practices you should be implementing to ensure excellent rapport with a customer.

1. Ask Questions

Ask your client rapport-building questions about their personal view of their company and business goals. Listening carefully will give you a clear idea of client priorities, and unique insight into how to meet their needs. Examples of rapport-building questions include a more personal line of questioning like,” I see you attended X university! What did you like best about your time there?” Asking informed questions to build rapport shows the client you are dedicated to offering a tailor-made product and long-lasting relationship and will take their goals to heart – and to the bank.

2. Listen Empathetically

Practice active listening, and make note of keywords, critical issues, and primary goals. By closing your mouth and opening your ears, you are also opening the door for more trusting future communication and a long-lasting relationship, where your customer feels comfortable seeking you out for advice, or future work.

3. Establish Common Ground

Using small talk to find common ground is a great way of establishing rapport with clients, and showing a genuine interest, which is a tough thing to fake! A rapport-building question about a detail of the client blog or website is a great way to demonstrate a common interest in their business and success. Asking open-ended questions will help your client “open up,” and share personal experiences that you might share, for a firm and trusting foundation to your relationship.

4. Mirror & Match

The “mirror and match” technique draws on the truth that we prefer to interact with people who we perceive to be similar to ourselves. What we say is negligible, when our body language and voice portray disinterest or a lack of understanding. The most successful communicators watch and mimic the body language of others, adopt a similar temperament, use similar language, and attempt to match the tone, tempo, and volume of the other person’s voice. Science says that employing these methods of connection results in stronger intimacy, trust, and client rapport.

Rapport-building questions are an easy way to make a personal, more long-lasting connection with existing and potential customers. If a company culture of excellent customer relationships sounds like it could benefit your business, contact ListenTrust today, or read on to learn more about how establishing rapport with clients through the use of bilingual customer service can future-proof and globalize your business.

Get Started by Contacting ListenTrust Today!

For more information, contact Tom Sheppard, VP of Business Development, at:

Personalized Customer Service

Personalized Customer Service

Storefront employee delivers personalized customer service.

Customer service is a necessary part of any business, but it is also a way for a brand to set itself apart from the competition. A company that steps up customer service with personalization will enjoy the same benefits as when a regular customer walks into a brick-and-mortar store. Tailored, personalized, and memorable customer service leaves a lasting impression that also offers the highest level of customer service and improves your brand’s overall standing. 

What Is Personalized Customer Service?

It may be easy to assume the personalizing customer service means using a script to add the customer’s name in the opening line or something similar, but there are more nuanced ways to add personalization. Personalized customer care also means adapting to a customer’s needs and expectations. Instead of having customers fit through the business’s service funnel, the business should react to each customer’s needs. However, what one customer prefers might alienate others or be insufficient. No two people are the same, so no two customers should want or need the same things. Keeping everyone as happy as possible with the methods they prefer gives customers a choice of ways to interact and ways to speak up if something isn’t going right. 

Benefits of Personalizing Customer Service

Personalizing customer service may seem like an impossibly detailed task, but there are multiple ways to achieve your goal, some of which are explained below:

Attainable Expectations

Customers today expect personalization and customized experiences, but there is also more worry over data privacy than ever before. Typically, businesses use customer data and feedback to tailor future experiences, but not everyone wants to hand over their data. When done correctly, companies can safely use and store customer data to create personal experiences customers want without data misuse’s shady downsides. When companies track purchase history, service interactions, feedback, and more for the business’s betterment, the company can offer better service exactly how that customer wants.

Faster Customer Service

Personalized service may sound like it takes more time, but personalized experiences help resolve issues faster once the system is up and running. When customer service agents know everything about a customer, they can anticipate or prepare for likely questions. Having the answers and customer preferences at the ready makes each interaction much more efficient and gets the customer to their desired end much faster.

Balance Between Agents and Automation

Automation is a technology we have been dreaming of for years, and AI is now a core part of many business strategies, but we cannot forget the human side of customer support. Each method has the best use situations. Sometimes a customer does not want to talk to a live human agent for a simple issue they can fix with a chatbot or phone tree. Other times, customers want to let out their frustrations with a product to a live human or need help with a more complex issue than automated systems can handle. When it is clear a human response is needed, the transition must be fast. A customer who wants to talk to a person will not suffer through a long winding phone tree for awfully long, nor should they have to. Moving from an automated system to a live agent should be fast and seamless, preferably with only the bush of a button or voice command. Tracing customer preferences over time can help determine which customers want to speak to an agent and which do not so you can provide personalized service without any interruptions.

How to Provide a Personalized Experience

You cannot control your competitors’ prices, size, or any other factors, but you can make your business better in different ways. Providing a personalized experience for your customers is useful for various reasons. Still, it can help customers return to your business rather than move to a competitor, as most people would rather do business with someone who knows your name rather than a faceless company. For many customers, better customer service, including personalization, is enough to keep them loyal to your business over other options. You can get creative with ways you personalize experiences for customers; below are just a few examples of ways you can personalize the customer experience and enjoy the benefits:

  • Reward and recognize loyal customers with over-time programs.
  • Know your customer’s name and proper capitalization.
  • Reward feedback with messages when feedback is considered or implemented.
  • Offer free classes, trials, or demonstrations so customers can see exactly what they are buying, which eliminates doubt or quality concerns.
  • Send a personalized, handwritten note to customers with orders for a pleasant surprise in the box or on their birthday as an inexpensive way to reach out.
  • Recognize or feature customers’ experiences on your website or social media pages to reassure potential customers and encourage other customers to leave testimonials.

Personalized customer experiences and support are a fantastic idea that can be tricky to get right. The line and blend of automation and human intuition can be hard to find, but your customers will appreciate you are trying and eventually succeeding. You may need help along the way, and the experts at ListenTrust are here to help you get personalization precisely right.

Get Started by Contacting ListenTrust Today!

For more information, contact Tom Sheppard, VP Business Development, at:

5 Ways to Deliver Great Customer Service

5 Ways to Deliver Great Customer Service

Businesses may wish that selling a fantastic product was all it took to find success with customers, but there is more to the equation. If your customer service is unhelpful, inconsistent, hard to use, or next to nonexistent, you will see the negative impacts on your bottom line as customers learn to stay away or not bother in the first place. Customer service may not be the most exciting aspect of a business, but it is a vital one that is key to long-term success. Everyone has heard of customer service, but when it comes time to set up your own customer service, you must ensure every customer has a great experience with planning and procedures. 


What Is Customer Service?

Customer service is something everyone hears about, but not everyone can nail it down into an actual definition. While everyone can have a slightly different expectation of ideal customer service, the general definition is support for customers, before and after a purchase, to help customers have a pleasant overall experience and solve any issues that arise.


What is Greate Customer Service?

Most businesses offer some level of customer service, but there is a wide gap between offering customer service hardly anyone uses and having excellent customer service that customers do not actively avoid. Excellent customer service relies on a few different metrics, like required customer time investment, the time to resolution, how helpful are the customer service agents, and how friendly are the customer service agents to talk to. Great customer service should get a customer to a solution without waiting on hold for hours or bouncing from department to department for answers. Much of customer service comes down to the agents and how empowered they are to go above and beyond for each customer. Support teams should go beyond solving the question in front of them and try to go above and beyond to create a memorable winning experience that puts your brand above the competition.


How to Deliver Great Customer Service 

Delivering great customer service is the ultimate goal, but there are multiple different ways to offer great service. Combining different methods and policies will add up to make your customer service even better. Below are five ways or areas you can improve your customer service:


Keep a Positive Attitude

Customers often call customer service for help with a problem, and no one wants to talk to someone who is clearly in a bad mood. Customer service agents’ attitude set the tone for the call and can have a significant impact on whether customers enjoy the experience or not. It is much easier to have an agent give a happy or positive tone on phone calls, but text-based communication can be much harder to interrupt. Customer service agents should know how to make text-based messages come off friendly with welcoming language and exclamation points to fit everyday social online communication. It may feel like your agents are coming off as overly friendly or excitable, but that is much better than customers leaving with the impression agents are cold and don’t want to help them.


Know the Product or Service

Customer service is mostly there to solve customer’s problems with products or services, and support agents should know enough to solve these problems. If you know all the positives to market and sell your product, you should also know how to fix it if something goes wrong. Customer service should be the resource of information for customers, so agents must know everything they can about the products and fix them so the customer can quickly get the right answer.

Listen to the Customer

Sometimes the easiest part of customer service is the most forgotten as many customer service agents forget to listen to the customer. Sometimes the issue is an easy fix, but the customer just wants to be heard, which is the more important service. Service agents may save time by quickly solving problems and rushing to the next customer, but you will endear your brand to more customers by taking the time to listen. When you stop and listen, you can hear what the customer needs from you, and they may have a suggestion for a product no one else had voiced yet.


Ask and Use Feedback

Any customer service interaction is the perfect time to ask for feedback to show you care about customer opinions and improve your business even further. Asking for feedback or suggestions makes customers feel valued beyond their money, and there is a variety of ways to ask for feedback. Send surveys, questionnaires, follow-up questions, and ask customers directly for any suggestions before, after, and a few months past a purchase. However, you must use the feedback and suggestions for the time investment to be meaningful. Review feedback to identify areas with recurring suggestions, weed out suggestions that, while well-intentioned, won’t work for your business, and note changes you can make to adapt the suggestions to fit better.


Get to Know your Customer Better

Providing customer service becomes easier once you know and understand who your customers are and what they want from you. A better understanding of the situation, your customers, and common issues combine to give the customer service agent much more power than a typical cold call. All it takes is a few simple questions to get to know a customer and often give you information about your competitors. Sometimes customers won’t feel comfortable talking to or offering feedback to another person, which is where surveys come in handy. A survey lets the customer express themselves without fear, and the business receives unfiltered feedback. The more information a business knows about its customers, the better the service will be because the agents are also better-informed.



Customer service is a vital part of a successful business that is worth taking the time to get right. Many different elements go into excellent customer service, with each element taking time to dial in. Learning how to use customer information, feedback, existing frameworks, and more is a tricky task, but the experts at ListenTrust are here to help make the process as easy as possible. Contact us today to learn how ListenTrust professionals can help you improve your business’s customer service. 


Get Started by Contacting ListenTrust Today!

For more information, contact Tom Sheppard, VP Business Development, at: