Tone/Phrase Guide

How to assist rude customers

Krystal Rowland avatar
Written by Krystal Rowland
Updated over a week ago

We have all been faced with an angry or difficult customer who is experiencing a tricky problem, delays with their order, or they're just frustrated in general. We understand it’s easy to get flustered when customers are rude, and it can be easy to reflect a customer’s abusive, short, and/or condescending tone right back at them. Please know that rude/condescending responses will not solve anything. In fact, they can have a negative impact on a Partners relationship with their customer, our relationship with our Partners, and an Expert’s standing on the platform.

This is especially true when communicating via text where the tone of a message can be interpreted differently by different people. Even variations in how we are raised can influence both how we communicate and interpret communications. What may seem rude and short to you might just be a reflection of a person’s culture.

For these reason, it’s always better to err on the side of assuming the best from customers. Even when they are quite obviously frustrated, the best Experts are able to turn that customer’s interaction around by providing kindness and understanding at every step.

If the customer continues being rude and you aren’t sure you can continue helping them, it's in YOUR best interest to escalate the ticket. If you're unsure that the ticket should be escalated, reach out to a Specialist for assistance.

Let’s look at some phrases that upset customers.

"As previously stated/mentioned"

"See last response"

"See above"

"Read the long message above"

"Read above"

"I don't understand"

“What do you want me to do”

Rather than using one of the responses above, try one of these:

"Apologies for any confusion here. I'm happy to further assist"

"If you have any additional questions at all, I'm here and happy to help"

"To ensure that I provide the best assistance, can you please clarify how I may help"

Sending a short response such as "Read my long message above" or "See above" comes off as dismissive and rude. Not understanding what a customer needs help with is okay, we just need to ask for clarification appropriately and ensure that our tone isn't rude or condescending. If the customer replied after you sent informative information, it's okay to reword and send the information again. We can also take out information that isn't needed to address the customer's question to ensure we're not causing confusion. Review your response prior to sending to ensure your tone isn't coming off in a negative way.

We should always go above and beyond to provide world-class customer service to each and every customer. Maybe the customer misunderstood the previous message that was sent or maybe they felt that their question wasn't addressed with the information provided. We can always further assist the customer in a positive way!

How to deal with a rude customer

There are many things we can do to interact with rude/upset customers in a positive way. The first thing we should try our best to do is not take the customers' rudeness personally. We should try our best to be empathetic, offer a sincere apology, and stay calm and stoic. Explain any steps you'll take to assist the customer. Be sincere in your responses.

Positive responses we can use with rude customers

"I'm really sorry to hear {personalize with the customers issue}"

  • Personalizing our responses to the customer will show that we've reviewed the information they've provided.

"I understand how frustrating this must be"

  • Empathy is key. Our best Experts put themselves in the customer's shoes and use empathy and connection to provide a positive interaction.

"My apologies, I may have misunderstood. Can you please confirm that you need assistance with {insert the reason the customer reached out}?

  • Even when we may not be confused, we can still apologize and confirm with the customer.

One key thing to remember when responding to each customer is to review what you've typed before you send it. If you're frustrated by something the customer said, take a step away or escalate the ticket. Experts should never send a response to a customer when they're frustrated or upset.

Apologize even when you may not feel it's warranted. Again, empathy and connection go a long way!

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