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De-Escalation Techniques for Customer Service: №1
Customer Care

De-Escalation Techniques for Customer Service

July 23, 2021
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In the realm of customer service, agents are often faced with the challenge of handling concerned, dissatisfied, angry, or frustrated customers. As per the established norm in contemporary businesses, the customer is always considered right. Handling such difficult customers requires an immense amount of patience. Without it, both the agent and the client could experience miscommunication and heightened frustration.

For an average person, dealing with an angry and frustrated person, whether it is a customer, a friend, or a family member, is always unpleasant. And if in one's off-work life the situation might get resolved with time, working in customer support service, it is necessary to address the situation immediately as well as come up with the optimal solution in the shortest time to resolve the issue.

Suppose you are a customer support agent looking for effective strategies to resolve the issues faced by upset clients. In that case, you should consider employing de-escalation techniques for customer service in your day-to-day duties.

What Is De-Escalation in Communication?

De-escalation is a crucial skill aimed at defusing tension and exiting conflict situations smoothly.

This skill is indispensable in today's customer support services. It's well-acknowledged that customers are the lifeblood of any business, making their happiness and satisfaction central to achieving business objectives. Consequently, every business or brand owner should prioritize exceptional customer service and continually seek methods to enhance it.

Calming down angry and upset customers is the first step to successfully resolving the issues they have with your product or services. However, it's important to remember that not all customers express their anger or frustration identically. Each customer is unique, leading to a myriad of different expressions of anger and dissatisfaction.

Utilizing De-Escalation Techniques in Customer Service

As a customer support agent, applying de-escalation strategies can significantly improve the quality of your interactions with customers, leading to more productive and respectful conversations.

However, utilizing these de-escalation strategies can sometimes seem counterintuitive. When confronted with high-stress situations, people tend to instinctively react in one of three ways: fight, flight, or freeze. Thus, it's a valuable skill for customer support representatives to override these natural instincts during conflicts.

Here are some common negative responses that customer service agents should steer clear of:

  • Retaliating with anger: responding to a customer's frustration with a raised voice, continual interruptions, or disrespectful language only serves to escalate the situation, leaving the customer feeling even more dissatisfied.
  • Displaying intimidation: over-apologizing can inadvertently hand over control of the conversation to the customer.
  • Attempting to escape: hastening to conclude the call, passing it onto a different employee, or unnecessarily placing your customers on hold can lead them to feel undervalued and discontent with your services.

So, to make sure that your customers have a positive experience with your brand or company, it is necessary to employ de-escalation techniques for customer service. These techniques not only help streamline processes, but also enable effective resolution of customer complaints.

Some of the de-escalation techniques that you can implement to keep your customers calm and satisfied, while you are trying to help them, are:

1. Stay calm

When customers seek support, it's common for them to express frustration, anger, or dissatisfaction. Maintaining your composure in such situations can be challenging as a customer service representative. However, it's crucial to remember that customers are not upset with you personally; their dissatisfaction stems from a particular product or service your company offers.

When dealing with dissatisfied customers, it's essential to maintain composure and stay calm. It's important to separate yourself from the issue and approach the interaction with a level-headed attitude. By keeping emotions in check and adopting a polite tone, you can effectively address the customer's concerns.

De-Escalation Techniques for Customer Service: №1

2. Allow your customers to be heard

When dealing with angry and upset customers, it is crucial to allow them to express their thoughts and concerns fully. Allowing them to speak without interruption enables them to release their frustrations and prevents further aggravation. Actively listening to their grievances, even if you already understand the issue or have a solution in mind, is essential.

Remember, when customers seek support, they simply want to be heard. So, let them finish expressing themselves before offering assistance.

3. Script your response

When facing potentially challenging customer interactions, it's essential to be prepared. One effective way to prepare is by scripting your response ahead of time.

To script your response, consider different customer concerns such as delivery issues, hidden charges, or poor product or service quality. Write down key points and practice these conversations with a friend to simulate real-life scenarios.

Creating and rehearsing a script with a trusted individual will boost your confidence and help you maintain a calm and composed demeanor, even when faced with customer anger, frustration, or dissatisfaction.

The effectiveness of well-constructed scripts in customer interaction is exemplified by Simply Contact's AHT reduction project. We introduced a “database” of conversation scripts that helped guide agents swiftly through customer queries.

These scripts not only provided ready responses, but also reduced uncertainties in handling customer interactions. The result? A 10% reduction in AHT during the initial stages, eventually contributed to a remarkable 30% decrease across the Italian and English lines at the Wizz Air project.

De-Escalation Techniques for Customer Service: №1

4. Offer options and solutions

Providing customers with a range of options and solutions is an effective de-escalation technique. When faced with a problem or complaint, customers often feel frustrated and powerless. By offering them choices and involving them in the decision-making process, you can empower them and regain their trust.

Additionally, personalize the options based on the customer's preferences or circumstances. Tailoring the solutions to their needs shows that you understand their unique situation and are committed to providing a satisfactory outcome.

5. Take ownership and follow up

Taking ownership of a customer's issue is crucial in de-escalating a situation and building trust. Assure the customer that their concern is important and that you will personally oversee its resolution. This demonstrates your commitment to their satisfaction and shows that you are willing to go the extra mile to address their needs.

By taking ownership and following up, you showcase your accountability and leave a favorable impression of your company. This level of attentiveness and commitment can have a lasting impact on the customer, nurturing their loyalty and transforming a potentially negative encounter into a positive one.

6. Express gratitude for feedback 

When customers reach out to customer service agents with their concerns, it's important to acknowledge their feedback and show appreciation for their input. Customers may have experienced frustration or dissatisfaction, and by expressing gratitude, you validate their feelings and demonstrate empathy.

Using phrases like “Thank you for sharing your feedback” or “I appreciate you bringing this issue to our attention” shows that you value their perspective and are committed to addressing their concerns. This simple act of gratitude can help diffuse tension and create a more positive customer service experience.

De-Escalation Techniques for Customer Service: №1

De-Escalation Training for Customer Service 

Winning back the admiration of upset and dissatisfied customers is crucial for the success of your business or brand. Equipping your customer support staff with de-escalation training is essential to achieving this goal.

At Simply Contact, we prioritize comprehensive training programs for our representatives. Each representative undergoes rigorous training, including engaging in role-playing scenarios to practice de-escalation techniques.

Proper training enables your support agents to effectively handle calls from angry customers and make them feel appreciated and valued. Here are some important training tips for your support agents:

Teach operators to manage emotions and enhance customer interactions

Teaching your customer service representatives to maintain emotional neutrality during customer interactions is crucial. Acknowledging and empathizing with the concerns of dissatisfied customers is an essential skill for a support agent. It not only validates the customer's frustration or anger, but also facilitates more composed discussions.

Deescalating heated conversations typically paves the way to identifying the problem and devising an appropriate solution.

By training your customer support representatives to remain calm and courteous during all customer engagements, you protect your company's reputation and enhance the user experience. This approach transforms challenges into solutions, contributing to the continuous improvement of your products or services.

Incorporate EQ principles into all customer interactions

Implementing emotional intelligence (EQ) principles in your customer interactions can significantly improve your business performance, leading to increased sales and enhanced productivity. The key EQ aspects to incorporate into your customer support strategy include empathy, awareness of others' emotions, and self-regulation.

To enhance the emotional intelligence of your customer service, it's essential to train your representatives in active listening and problem-solving. Furthermore, they should be adept at customizing their responses based on the specific emotional state of the customer.


De-escalation can be challenging, but mastering effective techniques for customer service is key to ensuring customer satisfaction. As a customer support agent, you're likely to encounter disgruntled customers daily. Therefore, understanding how to diffuse such situations is vital for creating a more pleasant and efficient working environment.

Simply Contact's expertise, dedication, and track record in de-escalation make us a trusted partner for companies seeking to resolve customer issues effectively. By leveraging our specialized knowledge, your business can turn challenging situations into opportunities for growth and customer satisfaction. Contact us today to explore how our de-escalation techniques can transform your customer service interactions.

Customer Care
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