It’s hard to know what to do with a customer’s anger when it hits you. The first impulse is to duck—“Don’t yell at me, I didn’t do it!”—or to lob a little fire and brimstone right back at the customer. Neither option is good for business, or good for you.

Some callers are angry before they call you, others become angry during the call—often unexpectedly. In either situation, the angry caller is likely to throw you off pace. After all, when you’re dealing over the telephone lines, you seldom get to see the anger coming.

When customer anger goes unresolved, you can’t learn anything from that transaction, so ...

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