Three reasons situations escalate—and how to stop the cycle

From the course: De-Escalating Intense Situations

  • Course details

    Nearly every customer service professional has encountered a livid customer. These individuals may yell, curse, or forcefully disagree with a policy that you must enforce, but can't control. Such situations are unquestionably tough, but—with the right approach—you can consistently de-escalate the tension. In this course, instructor Myra Golden shares strategies for defusing intense situations, providing practical approaches that can help you calm angry customers. Myra goes over what often causes situations to escalate, and shares practical steps you can take to prevent an escalation. She also provides tips that can help you reframe conversations, manage expectations, handle customers who ask for your supervisor, and more.


    • Click here to view Myra Golden’s instructor page

      Myra Golden

      Customized Engaging Digital Customer Service Training and Instructor at LinkedIn Learning

      Myra Golden is an author, trainer, and keynote speaker.

      For over 20 years, Myra has been helping companies improve the customer experience through her customer service training workshops. She has a master's degree in human relations and a bachelor's degree in psychology, helping her to understand the challenges of developing the best customer experience as it relates to the psychology of the employees.

      Myra has helped McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Michelin, Frito-Lay, Vera Bradley and many others improve the customer experience through her training. She was named one of the top 10 customer service bloggers by Huffington Post, and she is the co-author of Beyond WOW: Defining A New Level of Customer Service.

    Skills covered in this course

  • Why you've been unsuccessful with angry customers

    - If you're in customer service, you've heard this phrase: I want to speak with the manager. So I want to take a minute with you and break down the three reasons this happens. The number one reason customers escalate is they don't accept your word as final. Position yourself as the expert. Talk assertively, explain things clearly, and offer options when you can. Here's how you might do this. We're not able to exchange this for you because your purchase was made more than 90 days ago, but you may be able to get a replacement or repair through the warranty. The second reason customers escalate is some customers just come out of the gate demanding to talk to a manager. These customers think it's faster to go directly to the top. Get customers to let you help them by saying something like, I can connect you to a supervisor, but I may be able to help. Will you give me a chance to assist you first? Now, don't push. Just offer to help. In most cases, this approach works. Okay, the final reason customers ask to escalate to a manager is a cycle of escalation is put in motion. Here's how the cycle of escalation unfolds. The customer says something, and the employee responds to what's said. If the employee doesn't come across like he's doing all he can possibly do to help, the customer may try to escalate. The customer's escalation is based on how the employee responds. The cycle of escalation is best understood by seeing it in action. Watch how quickly this situation spirals to escalation. - Hi, I'm following up on a case I opened with you guys over a charge I disagreed with. My case ID is 8A713. - The status hasn't changed. We're still waiting to hear back from the local office. There's nothing we can do at this point but wait. - You told me that the Phoenix office would get back to me within three to four business days. It's been 16 days, this is ridiculous. I need to talk to a manager now. - The manager's going to tell you the same thing that I'm telling you, that we're waiting to hear from the local office. There's nothing else that can be done at this point. - Again, I need to talk to your manager. - When the customer heard, "There's nothing we can do at this point," her response was, "I need to talk to a manager." The cycle of escalation is put in motion when you don't put forth the effort to dig deeper for the customer and when the customer feels pushed into a corner. Let's try this again. - Hi, I'm following up on a case I opened with you guys over a charge that I disagreed with. My case ID is 8A713. - It looks like we haven't heard back from our local office. We typically get back to customers within a few days. Do you mind holding while I call our people in Phoenix to see what's going on? - Fine. (light upbeat music) - I spoke with our Phoenix office, and your case is with Kyla and being reviewed. They explained that they're behind and they're working through issues. They're hoping to get back to you by the end of the week. - Another delay? Can I talk to a manager? - I can put you through to a manager, but let me first say I know this case is moving slower than we both want, but it is on Kyla's desk and I'm sure you'll hear back from her this week. - (sighs) Fine. I'll call back first thing on Monday if I don't hear back from you guys. - This time the employee chose to dig deeper, and this effort, combined with more details, helped the customer to accept the employee's word as final.

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