Here are the top nine negative body language signals and gestures you must absolutely avoid when dealing with an angry customer in a tense situation:
1 Wrong Facial Expression
Always be aware of your facial expression when you are communicating with a customer, especially when they are upset about something. Check with your co-workers, supervisor and friends whether you display any annoying facial expressions like rolling your eyes, scowling, or an inappropriate smile when you are experiencing a tense or unhappy situation.
You must always provide a calm, sincere, concerned and interested facial expression to show the customer that you care, appreciate and acknowledge his or her feedback and complaint of their unpleasant experiences. Avoid smiling when a customer is expressing anger. If you do, you may upset the customer even more by making the customer feel that you are not taking his or her issues seriously.
2 Annoying Voice Tone
Did you know that people actually respond more to how you say something than what you say. And when you sound annoyed, impatient or condescending, you are going to make the already upset customer become even angrier. But on the contrary, when you sound confident, the customer will believe that you know what you are talking about, and eventually it will be much easier for you to calm him or her down.
You will sound annoyed when your tone goes up at the end of a sentence, it makes you sound as if you are asking a question. Record and listen to yourself talking on a recorder. And if you hear your tone goes up at the end of the sentence, start practicing to speak with a more even tone by ending your sentences on a lower note. It will help you sound confident and competent when you are talking.
Upset customers will eventually calm down much easier and faster as they find it soothing and comforting when you respond to them by speaking with a calm, firm, caring and soothing tone.
3 Closed Defensive Crossed-Arms Gesture
Defensiveness, unwilling to listen and a resolutely closed mind are the messages of the crossed-arms gesture. When you are attending to an upset and angry customer, uncross your arms to display your openness and show you are listening attentively.
4 Negative Body Posture
Always maintain an open and non-threatening body posture to avoid further increasing the irritation of an angry customer. Do not crowd him or her and provide enough personal space by standing far enough away.
Stand or sit up straight to show that you are attentive and listening to your customer. Avoid slumping or slouching as you will seem inattentive and uninterested.
5 Touching and Physical Contact
Avoid touching an angry and upset person at all times as it may provoke him or her further and may even lead to untoward violence.
6 Cursing and Swearing
Remaining calm and responding with patience when someone is cursing and swearing at you is a sign of strength and not weakness. Always compose yourself in a calm and steady manner when responding to an angry customer. Remember that you are a professional representing your company and there is never an excuse for you to curse or swear even if the customer does so.
7 Eating, Chewing and Nibbling
When you are communicating with the customer through the phone or face to face, do not chew gum, eat or nibble on any food. These are considered as very annoying acts in the eyes of all customers, and it will further upset an already irate customer.
8 Sighing Sighing Sighing
Do not sigh in front of an angry and upset customer as it only suggests annoyance, impatience and dissatisfaction, and it will further worsening the already tense situation.
9 Slow Dilly-Dally Movement
Angry and upset customers are already in an impatient mood and they expect you to respond to their needs and requests speedily. Move swiftly and don’t dawdle when you are assisting these customers.
The Final Words
Your body language signals and gestures will constantly project your attitude in the public eye. And you should always make sure your attitude is “I’ll go the extra mile to help and assist as best as I can”. Keep in mind that the same quality of service will also be expected from you when you are the customer.
Always remember that your job is to help your customers by professionally servicing their needs and solving their problems. If you really cannot stand helping angry and upset people, it’s advisable to request for a transfer to another department with different duties and responsibilities.