Lots of Customer Service Advice Simply Too Generic
If you read a lot about customer service, you'll see sweeping generalizations about how to treat customers, and what they want. It's a little misleading because the advice suggests that there's one way to deliver customer service effectively, and that it means the same to everyone.
In a sense it does, and in a sense it doesn't. Certainly everyone wants "respect" as a customer. The meaning of respect though, when translated into action, varies a lot from person to person. Likewise for angry customers. Each person, and each customer interaction is somewhat unique, so simple generalized solutions don't work well.
Excerpt From If It Wasn't For The Customers I'd Really Like This Job: Stop Angry, Hostile Customers COLD While Remaining Professional, Stress Free, Efficient and Cool As A Cucumber
Each person you deal with is slightly different. One person may respond very well to a gentle approach. Another person may respond to a firm tone, while someone else may require you to be almost aggressive. You must use your judgment and experience, since you are the one interacting with the person.
What this means is that you must observe the person carefully, watching to see if anything in particular is working. If
you try several empathy responses and the person gets more hostile, either you are mis-phrasing your responses (tone, words), or, empathy just isn’t going to work with that person.
You decide. You try out techniques, and look to see what happens. If it works, keep doing it and if it doesn’t, try something different. Keep in mind that memorized scripts are always a bad idea. Apart from the fact that each situation is different, and requires a slightly different (flexible) approach that scripts cannot provide, customers can tell whether you are reciting something memorized or interacting with them in real time dialogue. People overwhelmingly prefer conversations with people who converse like people, and dislike scripted interactions.