13 De-escalation Techniques for Customer Service Professionals

7 techniques to de-escalate angry customers
  • 1Acknowledging the customer’s concern.
  • 2Guiding and providing solutions.
  • 3Working out possible agreements.
  • 4Making sure there are no more issues.
  • 5Avoid friction with a dynamic help page.
  • 6De-escalate before it reaches your agents.
  • 7Replace long waiting times with a smart email bot.

3 Steps to De-escalating with Customers

What are de-escalation techniques?

De-escalation techniques are tactics used to lessen, stop, or end conflict escalation. De-escalation techniques are used by experts in a variety of fields, such as law enforcement and customer service, to keep things calm and avoid major conflicts. Many of these techniques entail professional emotional labor or the capability of the user to control and regulate their own emotions in order to carry out an action, like offering support to others. Professionals can use these techniques to more easily accomplish their work objectives when dealing with stressed, upset, or irritable people.

De-escalation techniques are frequently used by professionals in the customer service industry because they deal with worried customers who frequently file complaints about goods and services. Customer service representatives must respond to difficult complaints in a professional manner in order to assist upset customers in resolving their issues. Customer service representatives can frequently assist in the management of client emotions when they respond by establishing firm boundaries in accordance with de-escalation techniques. In these circumstances, clients occasionally start acting in accordance with the agent’s polished façade, enabling the agent to provide the client with better long-term support.

13 de-escalation techniques to use in customer service

De-escalation techniques can help customer service representatives maintain civil troubleshooting discussions with clients and increase the effectiveness of their work. De-escalation techniques may help you streamline your procedures and effectively handle complaints. It’s crucial that customers have a positive experience, and while supporting clients with high-level concerns and emotional responses can be difficult work, de-escalation techniques may help. Here are 13 de-escalation strategies you can use to keep clients content and calm while you try to support them:

1. Stay confident

Try to maintain your confidence in your capacity to solve their problems as you proceed through your conversation with a dissatisfied customer. It’s more likely that a customer will respect your boundaries and behave appropriately when you as a customer support representative are strong and empowered.

2. Script your response

If you anticipate having a difficult customer interaction at some point while performing your job duties, you might want to consider scripting your response in advance. You can avoid improvising your de-escalation and conflict-resolution plan by doing this. You can practice responding to various customer concerns that you anticipate encountering in the course of your work in order to script your response.

You might even think about practicing these exchanges with a reliable friend or coworker to see how your script reads in a genuine conversation. Not only will practicing your response boost your confidence in your ability to help such customers, but having a script on hand can also help you keep your composure when they vent their frustration.

3. Listen actively

Customers frequently contact customer service representatives to vent their concerns, express their frustrations, and seek solutions to difficult situations, which indicates that they are looking for someone to listen to them and assist them. Try to use active listening techniques when speaking with your clients so that they feel heard as they share their stories. Recognize customers’ concerns, elicit details about their experiences, and use affirming language without interrupting them as they speak.

Using appropriate body language when speaking with a customer in person can also help convey that you are paying close attention to their concerns. Make an effort to maintain eye contact, stand tall, keep your arms free, and nod in agreement as they speak. Customers who are stressed out can be calmed down and give you important information about their experiences that may help you solve their problems.

4. Mirror their complaint

You want to be certain that you fully comprehend a customer’s complaints before you actively listen to them, validate their worries, and try to find solutions that satisfy them. To achieve this, you should mimic a customer’s complaint by reiterating their experiences and any frustrations they have expressed to you. This will assist you in problem-solving procedures and make customers feel heard and understood as you work to support them. De-escalating difficult customer support conversations with this is crucial.

5. Stay calm

When seeking assistance from you, customers might be agitated, irritable, or angry. It can be difficult to handle, but it’s important to remember that customers aren’t angry at you—rather, they’re unhappy with a specific good or service your business offers.

As a result, you should make every effort to avoid taking emotional customers’ complaints personally and maintain composure throughout conversations with them. You can act as a calming influence when dealing with irate clients by putting your emotions aside, speaking logically, and keeping a neutral tone. This will enable you to see past their feelings and find the underlying issue causing their worries.

6. Identify the root cause

When customers call to complain about a product or service, it’s not always immediately obvious what caused the customer to feel unsatisfied. Customers may cover up the real source of their unhappiness by focusing on other issues when they complain. For instance, because of an advertisement they saw, a customer might have particularly high expectations for a product. The customer may decide to call customer service and request a replacement product or refund if the product falls short of those promises.

Instead of complaining about the company’s inability to offer a replacement or refund, they may be angry about the product’s failure to live up to the promises made in the advertisement. In order to help customers with their concerns in the best way possible, it is your responsibility as a customer support agent to thoroughly investigate customer complaints and determine the underlying cause. Asking targeted questions about the customers’ experiences with the product will help you achieve this.

7. Break the problem down

If a client approaches you with a particularly intricate or multifaceted issue, you can try to reduce their agitation by segmenting the issue into more manageable parts. You can address these areas one at a time and make progress in resolving the customers’ concerns because smaller problems are simpler to solve. A customer may take a step back and attempt to approach the support conversation with respect if they observe that you are diligently working to find workable solutions to the larger issue they raised.

This tactic can make your support processes more effective overall, even if a customer doesn’t change their tone as you resolve their problems. With this, you can handle difficult issues that might otherwise take a while to solve in a shorter amount of time. Therefore, breaking the problem down can help you solve a customer’s problems effectively and quickly. It may also encourage clients to treat you politely.

8. Offer sympathy

While customers typically contact customer service representatives to find solutions to their issues, they may also do so to vent their frustrations. While this isn’t always the case, it’s your responsibility to maintain a validating façade and make customers feel heard. Some customers want support agents to confirm that their frustrations are justified. Try to understand the customer’s concerns with this and provide some sort of validation.

You might think about using affirming phrases like, “I completely understand how frustrating this experience has been for you. Let’s attempt to collaborate to address your concerns,” or “That sounds like an unpleasant experience.” I’ll try my best to assist you in resolving this situation. These initiatives could encourage clients to accept your logic as you work to assist them. Customers are more likely to treat support staff with consideration when they feel heard.

9. Be realistic

As a customer service representative, it’s crucial to maintain confidence in your ability to help customers with their problems or give them the solutions they need. Avoid making commitments you might not be able to keep. Instead, make an effort to present solutions that you know are workable; even if they aren’t exactly what the customer wants, it will benefit them in the long run for you to be honest. Make sure to inform customers in these circumstances that while you’re working to find a solution, some solutions might be beyond your control.

Even if they don’t end up getting exactly what they want, customers will typically appreciate your efforts if they know you’re doing everything you can to address a problem and find a solution. Keep in mind that while it is your duty to contribute to preserving customer satisfaction, there are only a limited number of strategies you can use to achieve this.

10. Avoid putting customers on hold

Companies frequently route customers who contact support centers through lengthy automated voice messages. They might have to wait, and occasionally they might even be directed to the wrong department. As a result, they are frequently placed on hold while they wait for agents to become available or for agents to transfer them between departments. Customers who already feel inconvenienced by their dissatisfaction with a product or service may find this to be especially frustrating. In order to reduce challenges and especially if they are already expressing negative feelings about their experience, try to avoid putting customers on hold.

11. Narrate your problem-solving processes

Putting customers on hold might make them feel even worse and make it harder for you to solve their problems. Instead, converse with them as you look for solutions to their problems; outline the precise steps you’re taking to do so. If you ever need to put a customer on hold to speak with a manager or colleague about the solution, politely inquire as to whether they would mind waiting a short while. Customers can appreciate your careful efforts to streamline the support process by hearing this narration.

12. Apologize

One of the most underutilized de-escalation strategies for handling irate and emotional clients is apologies. When a customer complains, you may want to avoid taking responsibility, but you should try to apologize for the problem the customer is having in the first place. You can achieve this by expressing your regret in a direct and succinct manner, such as “I’m so sorry to hear that this has been your experience with our services. We aim for customer satisfaction with all of our goods and services; let’s see what we can do to prevent this from happening again. “.

This kind of apology can improve customer retention by making unhappy customers feel understood. Even if they haven’t been successful in the past, customers may be more likely to engage with a company’s products with this effort.

13. Offer recompense

Try to offer compensation for their frustrating experience as you wrap up your conversation with a disgruntled customer. Offer a refund, voucher, or other options that demonstrate your appreciation for their business if you can. This is a retention tactic that can help clients feel supported and like their issues were adequately addressed when they leave your conversation.


What are 3 de-escalation techniques?

De-escalation techniques and resources
  • Move to a private area. …
  • Be empathetic and non-judgmental. …
  • Respect personal space. …
  • Keep your tone and body language neutral. …
  • Avoid over-reacting. …
  • Focus on the thoughts behind the feelings. …
  • Ignore challenging questions. …
  • Set boundaries.

What is a good de-escalation technique?

Listen to what the issue is and the person’s concerns. Make reflective comments to demonstrate that you have taken note of their issues. Wait until the person has expressed their annoyance and their feelings before responding. To connect with the other person, look at them and make eye contact as necessary.

What are the four steps of de-escalation?

In today’s fiery, strife-filled interactions, here are four ways to de-escalate the situation with better communication:
  • Cultivate genuine compassion. Extend empathy toward the other person(s) and their situation.
  • Be inquisitive. …
  • Listen carefully to understand (not to respond) …
  • Speak respectfully.

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