Complete Guide To Dealing WIth Difficult, Angry, Aggressive And  Abusive Customers

Learn what to say, when to say it and stay stress free, safe, and professional under pressure

What is the "tactical 8 step process" for defusing?

The tactical 8 step model or process is part of the Verbal Judo (or Tactical Communication) process developed by George Thompson. While George worked primarily with law enforcement, the process can be applied to most customer service and difficult people situations.


Here's an overview of the 8 step approach, using an example from law enforcenement. As you read this, and if you are not in law enforcement or security, try to think of how to use this model in your own work with difficult customers.


  1. Give an Appropriate Greeting Statement: This should be a statement and not a question.
  2. Identify Yourself and your Department: This establishes your legal authority to stop/detain them as required by the 4th Amendment. Research has also shown that people are less likely to verbally abuse you if they can put a name with a face.
  3. Explain the Reason for the Contact: Makes your justification for the stop clear upfront and clarifies that you are not just harassing some poor citizen while also decreasing complaints of racial profiling. In addition, it is also a requirement of the 4th Amendment that people have the right to know why they are being detained by the police.
  4. Any Justifiable Reason For [your actions]… Could there be any justifiable reason why they violated the law?
  5. Ask for Identification: This could be a Driver’s License or State ID card containing name and DOB. These are items that are governed by US Supreme Court rulings. (Terry vs. Ohio)
  6. Request Additional Information: Examples include… vehicle registration, proof of insurance, etc. 7. Decision Stage: This is where you decide on what the disposition of your contact will be.
  7. Decision Stage: This is where you decide on what the disposition of your contact will be.
  8. Appropriate Closing Statement: Remember… Be polite and professional.
Credit: From a presentation by Lt. Martin Brock (North Carolina Police Department)

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