How to Deal with A Bully

Unfortunately, there are the customers who try to dominate a service call from the start. They want to control the situation and intimidate the rep into giving them what they want. They can be rude and manipulative — and they assume that the only way to produce results is by threatening.

What can you do? According to communication expert Robyn Hatcher, a confident tone is essential when dealing with a bully. Sit up straight, lean slightly forward and hold your head up when you talk with bullies. Even if they can’t see you, this strong posture helps you exude confidence.

Next, match the bullies volume and rhythm (but not tone). Bullies usually speak loudly, abruptly and quickly. If you respond with the same sense of urgency, by using a similar volume and fast-paced rhythm, customers will realize you mean business.

And finally, say Hatcher, keep in mind that most bullies would rather be right than liked, so disagreements only add fuel to their fire. Instead, empathize and agree with their emotions. For example, you might say, “I agree. I would be really frustrated with this situation, too. Let’s see what we can do to make things right.”

More practical tips for service professionals appear in the April issue of Customer Communicator newsletter.

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