Turn the Tone Around

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Call after call, customer after customer. We get it. It all begins to feel the same. It might be hard to empathize or even crack a smile on a Friday afternoon, or when you’ve just got off the phone with an angry customer.

When it’s feeling monotonous, keep it upbeat and change your attitude with even the slightest shifts in your mindset. Turn the “Argh!“ moments into “Aha!“ ones.

Argh!: “Ugh, a call right at the end of the day?”

Aha!: “Better turn on that charm. The faster I can satisfy this customer, the quicker I'm outta’ here.”


Argh!: “Great, another angry customer calling about this software update.”

Aha!: “This sounds familiar, but that previous customer was happy when I walked them through an easy fix.”


Argh!: “Time to smile and fake it.”

Aha!: “Whenever I smile, I relax my shoulders and jaw, and I feel better too. Deep breath and let’s go!”

How do you flip the internal script in your head when things get tough at work?

Positivity: Sprinkle that stuff everywhere

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In any customer situation - especially one where the customer is upset - it’s critical to stay positive. Sprinkle in some feel-good energy. When you show you understand, care, and are willing to take accountability, your customer can’t help but smile. Here are a few words and phrases that just beam positivity:

Great news! I’ve found the problem.

I can certainly look into that for you.

I completely understand why you’re concerned.

I will research this so we can find the solution as quickly as possible.

The way Chick-fil-A has “My pleasure,” what are some of your go-to words or phrases with customers?

Complaints might sound the same, but no two customers are alike

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You might be used to hearing the same complaints all the time. The type you can fix with your eyes closed. But your customer doesn’t know that, and it feels pretty unique and personal to them.

Empathize with them before jumping right into your blindfolded performance. Repeat the problem to show your customer you’re listening and care about their concern.

Ex: “You never received your package? I apologize for the inconvenience. I’m sending you a replacement that will be shipped overnight.”

Try placing a sticky note on your desk to remind yourself to start anew with every customer.

Follow the Leader- We Mean Customer

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Look at you, getting good at this rapport-building thing. But what happens when your customer is short, stressed, or in a hurry? It’s time to read the situation, adjust, and in this case, get right down to business.

Mirror your customer’s tone without sacrificing friendliness or quality. You’ll show your customer you’re listening, value their time, and are attentive to their needs - all at a swiftness they can appreciate. 

Then you can save those impressive chit-chat skills for the next lucky customer.

Ice, Ice Breakers

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Building rapport is all about connecting with your customer, which will instantly make them feel more comfortable. Listen and observe your customer for clues about who they are. Look for common nuggets of interest that will help start a conversation and break the ice:

●      “I see you’re from Texas; I spent a few years in Dallas and would love to visit again.”

●      “Aw, it sounds like you have little ones – toddlers? That’s such a fun age.”

●      “Hey, look at that. You have brown hair; I have brown hair. Neat.”

Well, I’m sure you can do better than that last one, but you get the point.

Smile, Breathe, and Listen on. You got this.

It's Not Over 'Till (The Customer Says) It's Over


You’ve had a tough call. The problem finally got solved. Done and done. Right? Not quite.

Giving customers another opportunity to express honest feedback at the end of a call lets them know you’re committed to giving them the VIP treatment.

It’s not about prolonging, but creating an open place and putting the ball back in their court. If your customer has nothing to add, you can confidently end the conversation with a mutual understanding that the problem has been resolved to their liking.

“Did you have any other questions I could answer for you today?”

“I want to ensure you have everything you need before we end our call. Are you satisfied with everything that was covered today?”

How do you check in at the end?

No Customer Left Behind

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It happens.
You could have nailed your empathy statements, given detailed updates, and even followed up. But not even sending chocolates or puppies can change your customer’s mind about the lack of confidence they feel in your company and its policies.

When your customer is straight up jaded, you may have little control over the matter. Reassure them that you’re willing to gain back their trust.

When a customer can separate you and your team from the faceless entity, which is your company, they can begin to see you’re just like one of them. Try this:

“This feedback has been invaluable to my team and me. Thank you for letting us know so that we can better address this in the future.”

“I was recently in a similar situation, so I understand the stress and inconvenience you’ve been feeling. Here’s what I can do to make it right.”

Have you ever won a customer back? Tell us at ann@wardcertified.com.