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Training Salespeople to Handle Hostile Customers

December 20, 2016

Everyone who has ever worked in retail has dealt with an angry customer at some point. Some have understandable reasons for becoming angry, while others fly off the handle without good cause. It’s important for your salespeople to know how to handle these customers without driving away business. The best way to ensure success is with proper training.

The Three Rs of Dealing With Angry Customers

Handling irritated shoppers is one of the worst parts of the job for most customer service associates, and they often experience a significant amount of anxiety when placed in such situations. Preparing them ahead of time will help make them more confident and relaxed during customer interactions.

Step One: Reframe

The first step associates should take is reframing (or reexamining) the situation. Even when customers are belligerent, they still need assistance. Employees should take a moment to remind themselves that the conversation is a request for help, not an attack – no matter how personal it may seem.

Step Two: Reassure

Once associates have the proper mindset, they should make a point to comfort the customer. They should be able to say “I can help you” regardless of the atmosphere. Giving the buyer a bit of confidence in the situation is key to diffusing anger and making him or her optimistic.

Step Three: Resolve/Responsibility

Associates must do everything in their power to resolve the issue. As employees, they have an obligation to do what they can for the customer. They also have a responsibility to the company, which should be at the forefront – regardless of personal feelings.

Every business owner should present these three steps to their employees. It’s also important to go over the steps frequently and provide extra resources when needed. When it comes to hostile customers, a bit of preparation goes a long way.


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