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

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Table of Content

Chapter I—Introduction

The Customers You Can’t Get Out of Your Head 1

Surveying The Customer Service Landscape 2

Lip Service To Customer Service + Lack of Investment = Frustration . 2

Overblown Unreasonable Customer Desires Fed By Companies PLUS

Low Expectations = Hair Trigger Customer Behavior . 3

Then There’s The Employee (Is That You?) . 3

In A Nutshell . 5

What Do These Interactions Look Like and Feel Like? 5

It’s All Too Familiar 7

Who Pays The Price? And How? 8

You Can Do Something About It . 8

Hints For Using This Book . 8

Special Features To Help You Learn . 9

Caveats — Read This 10

Important Note On Safety 10

Chapter II — Understanding Hostile Behavior

Why They Do What They Do — Understanding Angry, Hostile and

Abusive Customer Behavior 11

Anger — The Feeling 12

Angry Behavior 12

From The Acceptable To The Non-Acceptable — Hostile and Abusive

Behavior . 13

Verbal Abuse 13

Non-Verbal Abuse . 14

The Extreme End—Violence 15

Implications For You . 15

Chapter III — Where Does Hostile and Abusive Behavior Come From?

The Child . 17

Finally In Adulthood 19

Turning Theory Into Practice . 20

Rules of the Abuse/Attack Game 21

Bait — Hook, Line and Sinker . 21

More Rules . 23

Do Not Follow Rule 1: When Attacked You Will Respond Defensively . 24

Do Not Follow Rule 2: When Attacked You Will Counter-Attack . 24

What Angry People Need and Want 25

Understanding The Escalation/Crisis Cycle 29

Chapter IV — The Defusing Process and The CARP System

Overview of The Defusing Process . 31

The CARP System — A Master Strategy 32

Control 32

Acknowledge 34

Refocus . 35

Problem Solve . 35

Points To Remember . 35

Principles of Defusing . 36

Principle #1: Deal With Feelings First . 36

Principle #2: Avoid Coming Across As Bureaucratic . 36

Principle #3: Each Situation Is Different . 37

Principle #4: Strive To Control The Interaction . 38

Principle #5: Begin Defusing Early 38

Principle #6: Be Assertive, Not Aggressive Or Passive 38

Principle #7: If You Lose Control of Your Emotions, You Lose, Period . 39

Principle #8: What You Focus On, You Get More Of 40

Principle #9: Don’t Supply Ammunition 41

Principle #10: Don’t Ask Questions You Don’t Want To Hear

Answers To 41

Principle #11: Avoid Inadvertent Errors . 42

Principle #12: Avoid High Risk, High Gain Behavior 42

Chapter V — The Art of Self Control

Introduction . 43

How Do We Lose Self Control . 43

Tactic 1: Identifying Your Triggers . 44

Tactic 2: Slow Down Your Responses . 45

Tactic 3: Breathe 45

Tactic 4: Focus/Relax A Body Part . 46

Tactic 5: Take A Time Out 46

Self Talk Strategies . 46

Tactic 6: I’m Better Than That 47

Tactic 7: I’m Not Getting Suckered . 47

Tactic 8: I Won’t Pay The Price 47

Tactic 9: Put On Their Shoes 48

Section Summary . 48

Being Prepared 48

Tactic 10: Observing 48

Tactic 11: Preparatory Self-Talk . 49

General Stress Management Issues . 50

Tactic 12: Private Humor 50

Tactic 13: Venting/Not Venting, That is the Question 51

Chapter Conclusion . 51

Chapter VI — Starting Off Successfully

Introduction . 53

Tactic 14: Greeting . 53

Eye Contact 54

Posture 54

Tone of Voice . 54

Content . 55

Acknowledgment . 55

Effective Timing . 56

Tactic 15: Generating Rapport 56

Tactic 16: Using Names . 57

Chapter Conclusion . 58

Chapter VII — The Art of Cooperative Language

Type 1 and Type 2 Language . 59

Type 1 Language—Confrontational Language . 60

Type 2 Language—Cooperative Language . 60

Tactic 17: Appropriate Use of Type 1 & Type 2 Language 64

Tactic 18: Use of We . 64

Tactic 19: Using Appropriate Tone & Word Stress . 65

Hot Phrases & Words 66

Tactic 20: Avoid Hot Words & Phrases 66

Tactic 21: Avoid Repeating Hot Words & Phrases . 66

Using Questions 67

Tactic 22: Replace Some Statements With Questions . 68

Examples of Hot Phrases & Words . 68

Chapter VIII - Verbal Self-Defense Techniques

Introduction . 71

Review 71

Self-Defense Principles . 72

Tactic 23: Use Surprise 72

Tactic 24: The When Question . 73

Tactic 25: Going To Computer Mode 74

Tactic 26: The Topic Grab . 74

Tactic 27: Broken (Stuck) Record Technique . 75

Tactic 28: Telephone Silence . 76

Tactic 29: Allow Venting 77

Tactic 30: You’re Right 78

Tactic 31: Reframing To Common Goals 79

Chapter Conclusion . 82

Chapter IX—Acknowledgment Techniques

Introduction & Review . 83

Tactic 32: Empathy Statements 83

Examples 84

Guidelines 84

Tactic 33: Listening Responses 86

Chapter Conclusion . 87

Chapter X—Countering Non-Verbal Intimidation

Introduction . 89

Taking Meaning From Non-Verbal Behavior 89

Cultural Differences 90

Countermeasure Strategies 91

Tactic 34: The Stand Up Shuffle . 92

Tactic 35: Distraction . 93

Tactic 36: Equalizing Height 94

Chapter Conclusion . 95

Chapter XI—Referral Techniques

Introduction . 97

Tactic 37: Referring To Supervisor 97

Doing It Right 98

Tactic 38: Planning For Referral 100

Tactic 39: Referring To Co-Worker 101

Tactic 40—Directing Person’s Anger 101

Tactic 41: Referring To AN Outside Source Or Competitor 103

Tips & Suggestions To Make This Work 104

Chapter Conclusion . 104

Chapter XII—Time Out! Disengaging

Introduction . 107

Tactic 42: Disengaging 107

Plausible Reasons . 109

Variations . 109

Concluding Points . 110

Chapter XIII—Problem Solving

Introduction . 111

What Is Problem-Solving 111

Tactic 43: Define Customer’s Concerns & Problems 112

Analysis 114

Tactic 44: Provide Information. 114

Tactic 45: Offer Alternatives & Suggestions 115

Tactic 46: Follow-Thru 115

Some Support Tactics 115

Tactic 47: Create Agreement 115

Tactic 48: Give Away Something . 116

Chapter Conclusion . 116

Chapter XIV—Assertive Limit Setting

Introduction . 117

Assertive Limit Setting 117

Definition . 118

Tactic 49: Describe Unacceptable Behavior 118

Tactic 50: Request Behavior Change . 119

Tactic 51: State Consequences 119

Use Cooperative Language 119

Use Enforceable Consequences 120

Tactic 52: Offer Choice 120

Tactic 53: Enforcing Limits . 120

Then What Happens? 122

Chapter Conclusion . 123

Chapter XV—For Managers and Supervisors

Introduction . 125

Reinforcing Defusing Tactics . 125

Tactic 54: Model Appropriate Behavior . 125

Tactic 55: Support Skill Building . 126

Tactic 56: Debriefing With Staff . 126

Work Environment Safety 127

Tactic 57: Conduct A Safety Audit 127

Tactic 58: Create Policy On Violence 127

Tactic 59: Communicate Safety Policy 128

Tactic 60: Communicating/Explaining Other Policies To Staff . 129

Tactic 61: Effective Reversing of Employee Decisions . 129

Management/Supervisor Checklist . 130

Chapter Summary . 130

Chapter XVI — Customer Interactions Through Media

Introduction . 131

Before We Even Start 131

Understanding The Changes Pushed By The New Media 132

The Effect of the Medium . 133

Telephone Communication 133

Advantages/Disadvantages of Telephones 134

Tactic 62: Use A Stronger Tone 134

Tactic 63: Use A Very Quiet Volume 135

Tactic 64: Use More Obvious Word Stresses . 135

Tactic 65: Always Summarize 136

Tactic 66: Use Follow-ups/Written Note When Possible . 136

Tactic 67: Use Other Relevant Tactics . 136

Tactic 68: Telephone Silence Revisited . 137

Tactic 69: Chronic Nuisance Caller Tactic 138

Tactic 70: Having and Using Referral Resources 138

Communication Via E-Mail . 139

The Reliability Issue 139

Tactic 71: Modify Your E-Mail Mindset . 139

Tactic 72: Use An E-Mail Disclaimer Notice 140

Tactic 73: Use E-Mail Follow-Ups . 141

Tactic 74: Use Other Follow-Up Methods 141

Email: Not Conversation, But Not Letter Communication . 141

Tactic 75: Treat E-Mail As The Impulsive Medium It Is and Ignore Bait 142

Tactic 76: Move Away From E-Mail For Emotional Content 142

Tactic 77: Be Prepared For Lack of Comprehension and Consider Structure . 142

Social Media and Communicating With Customers 143

Short Form Social Media (Twitter, Status Updates on Facebook, LinkedIn . 144

Tactic 78: Use Twitter To Send Information As Adjunct To Other Methods 146

Tactic 79: Monitor Twitter For Discussions Of Your “Domain”/Company 146

Tactic 80: Respond To Negative Tweets ONCE In Public, Then Shift . 146

Tactic 81: Always Ask Customer For Permission TO Contact via E-mail/Phone . 146

Tactic 82: Write Simple, One Topic Short Form Messages 147

Longer Form Communication Via Internet (Social Media, Blogs, Websites . 147

Tactic 83: Attend To Layout of Your Articles.Not Just Content 148

Tactic 84: Stick To Simple Content Written In Style Suited To Desired Audience . 148

Interacting On Venues You Don’t Control . 149

Relevance To Your Business 149

Tactic 85: How To Respond To Negative Comments On Online Venues Over

Which You Have No Control 149

Tactic 86: What NOT To Do When Responding To Negative Comments On Venues

You Do Not Control 151

Now, The Exceptions 152

Tactic 87: Monitoring For Mentions of You/Your Company . 153

Blogs and Forums You Control — Dealing With Complaints 154

Tactic 88: Dealing With Complaints In Discussions You Control 154

Conclusions and Reminders 156

Chapter XVII — Audiences, Groups, Crowds and Mobs

Introduction . 157

Group Dynamics Change Behavior 157

Accidental and Incidental Audiences . 157

Tactic 89: Observe Customer For Signs of Playing To Accidental Audience 158

Tactic 90: Check Bystander Emotional Temperature 158

Tactic 91: Smile, They ARE Watching . 158

Tactic 92: Control The Waiting Area Atmosphere Through Communication 159

Tactic 93: Remove The Audience Or The Customer . 160

Dealing With the Ally/Friend/Companion (Theirs) . 160

Tactic 94: Use Eye Contact / Body Language To Focus 161

Tactic 95: Remove, Separate, Isolate . 162

Tactic 96: Use A Team Approach 162

Delivering Presentations To Resistant and Hostile Groups 163

Tactic 97: Know When You Are Headed For Trouble/Under Attack 163

Tactic 98: Focus on Best Possible Outcome 164

Tactic 99: Have Faith In The Group Process and In Human Beings 164

Tactic 100: Enhance Credibility . 164

Tactic 101: Prepare Properly 165

Tactic 102: Focus On Concerns of Audience 165

Tactic 103: Pre-empting Objections and “Their” Issues 166

Tactic 104: Balance, Not Propaganda 166

Tactic 105: Team Up 166

Tactic 106: Techniques For Side-Tracking, Direct Insults, Heckling and

Interruptions . 167

Chapter Conclusions . 168

Chapter XVIII—Special Topics

The Environment . 169

Tactic 107: Provide Reading Material/Distractions 169

Tactic 108: Re-Evaluate Your Environment . 169

Dealing With Threats 170

Tactic 109: Find Out Organization’s Policy . 170

Tactic 110: Report All Threats 170

Cultural Issues and Conflict . 170

Perceptions of Big Business 170

Communication/Tone of Voice 171

Interpersonal Distance 171

Eye Contact . 171

Language 171

Tactic 111: Avoid Stereotyping 172

Tactic 112: Observe Carefully and Be Open To Learning 172

Tactic 113: Don’t Yell . 172

Tactic 114: Be Patient and Understanding . 172

Chapter XIX — Final Comments

Introduction . 173

Tactic 115: Remind Yourself . 173

Tactic 116: Review Progress . 173

Tactic 117: Keep A Hostility Diary 174

Tactic 118: Defuse In Your Private Life 174

Tactic 119: Talk To Colleagues . 174

Tactic 120: Revisit This Book 174

Tactic 121: Read Other Books. 175

Tactic 122: Visit Us Online . 175

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