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Identifying Abusive or Irate Customers

When customers become angry during a call, it can help if the Customer Service Representative (CSR) is able to identify the underlying cause for such behavior. However, there are cases when the customer expresses the seriousness of his problem to the support representative through aggression. For example, the customer might be abusive simply because he is naturally rude when inconvenienced. However, there are cases when a customer may express to the CSR the seriousness of a problem using aggressive language or behavior.

The CSR must be able to recognize whether the customer is being unreasonably abusive or is coming across as being irate as he tries to forcefully describe the extent of his problem. Being able to differentiate among these two situations will help the CSR to deliver an appropriate response.

Abusive Customers

An Abusive Customer can be identified by

* The use of unacceptable language
* Personal abuse aimed directly at the CSR

When dealing with an abusive customer, it's important to know when he has crossed the line. Unacceptable behavior can be personal abuse, such as stating "You are stupid. I don't know why I bothered to call." or in the form of a personal threat, such as "I know where you work, and I will find you."

Irate Customers

A customer who is irate or angry about the problem often

* Uses a hostile tone when explaining the issue
* Shows an improved attitude if the underlying issue or problem is satisfactorily addressed

An irate customer might make a comment, such as "I don't have the time for this. I want it fixed right now." or "I don't pay for this type of service. What are you going to do about this problem?"

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