Here’s Exactly What to Say to A Crying Client or Customer
Ever been having a conversation with a client or customer and suddenly they just burst into tears? It happens, believe us! When this happens have you ever been at a loss for words? Yep, us too.
Crying is a natural reaction we get when we are overwhelmed, sad, or upset. While tears are often treated as a bad thing in our society and as a sign of weakness, the truth is that we all cry sometimes. We are not always able to restrain ourselves because of our biology, so sometimes we find ourselves crying at work or at someone else’s workplace.
You might encounter a crying client or customer in any line of work. Sometimes, people just break because they have had a bad day. Sometimes, people use tears as a manipulation to get their way or make others feel guilty, but usually, tears are an expression of extreme frustration and distress.
Having a customer or client start crying in front of you is not a pleasant experience, however, it’s something that is likely to happen at some point. Some industries, especially high-pressure fields, are more likely to make someone break into tears because people have to interact with others after hearing very bad news or experiencing a particularly stressful day.
Before considering the scripts, here are a couple of general tips to apply them more effectively:
- It may be useful to offer the client the option to step into a private area. Crying in a public space can feel humiliating. Discretion will be much appreciated.
- Avoid escalating the situation. You might feel upset yourself, especially if the client is more angry than sad. Keeping your cool is essential.
- Offering water, tea, and tissues is a good way to reinforce what you’re saying. Warm beverages are soothing by themselves, and tissues can help a client calm down faster.
Now, here is exactly what to say to a crying client or customer. On to the scripts!
1 | Show Empathy
I can tell that you are going through something difficult right now. I know that the topic we were talking about was hard/sensitive. Would you like to take a moment to breathe? Here is some water.
People often cry because the frustration becomes overwhelming. It might not seem that way to you, indeed, you might feel that they are overreacting. However, you should still express empathy. You don’t know what they are dealing with.
Offer them the opportunity to step away from a public space into an office, give them water or tea, and provide the chance to salvage their dignity. Many people will feel more upset knowing that they started crying in public and may appreciate the empathy a lot.
2 | Acknowledge their Feelings
I see that you are very upset/frustrated right now. I am sorry that you are going through this.
Acknowledging one’s feelings doesn’t mean accepting that they are right but it is a powerful tool for empathy. By showing your client that you acknowledge their feelings, it becomes easier to reach them and to communicate, even when they are very upset.
Sometimes, you might feel that the customer is going too far or might suspect they are faking their tears to get preferential treatment. Acknowledging their feelings is a good way to avoid escalating the conflict without saying that the client is right.
Illustrations courtesy of Shutterstock.
This article was originally published on https://www.nevertherightword.com. If this article appears on any other site other than https://www.nevertherightword.com without clear referencing it is a violation of the copyright owned by https://www.nevertherightword.com.
3 | Offer Support
Is there something I can do to make this better? Can I do something for you right now?
If asked to do something that is not possible:
I am afraid I can’t do that for you right now. Is there another way I can support you?
Offering support can help the person calm down and feel heard. In the case of a client whose business you don’t want to lose, this is especially important. You may be able to do something to help them cool down, although you will clearly have your limits.
You might not be able to give them a free service or provide what they want right away, which is why you should have a script for those situations as well. Sometimes, all people need is a chance to say what’s bothering them, a bit of empathy, or a glass of water. You might offer those things.
4 | Suggest A Break
I see the situation is quite upsetting. Would you like to take a breather?
In this script, you are giving the client a chance to compose themselves and come back to the issue at hand. This script might work better during a pause in the conversation or while the client is a little calmer. If they are very upset, they might not hear you or have a hard time disengaging.
Offering a break can lower the intensity of the situation and help the client get their emotions together. You might show them to the bathroom or private space where they can wash their face and calm down.
5 | Avoid Pushing the Issue
It seems this topic is upsetting to you. Let’s discuss something else in the meantime.
While an issue may be important, it could be of little use to talk about it while the other person is crying. Change the subject to something less charged or use the script above to take a short break. Pushing the issue can make the person even more upset and is unlikely to lead to any good results.
Dealing with crying customers can be uncomfortable but with a bit of empathy and respect, you can resolve this situation effectively and make the client appreciate you more. Sometimes, you will have to defuse the situation and give them a break; other times, you may need to provide a bit of sympathy. By using these scripts, you will surely help the client and prevent an unpleasant incident from happening.
Hasson, O. (2009). Emotional Tears as Biological Signals. Evolutionary Psychology, 7(3), 147470490900700. doi: 10.1177/147470490900700302
Rosen, L. (2018). How to Deal with a Crying Client. Retrieved from https://roseninstitute.com/deal-crying-client/
Sisley, K. (2017). The 8 Best Ways to Deal with Angry, Emotional, or Difficult Clients. Retrieved from https://www.workflowmax.com/blog/the-8-best-ways-to-deal-with-angry-emotional-or-difficult-clients
At Never the Right Word, our aim is to give you practical examples of how to handle life’s difficult conversations. If you have an awkward situation that you’d like example templates for, request a topic here.
Lastly, if you found this content helpful or want to share your own examples, let us know in the comments. We’d also be delighted if you shared this article and joined us on social media too!
Never the Right Word
Hi there! I’m Amy, and I’m the person behind Never the Right Word. I’m a designer-by-day who’s fascinated by human psychology; you’ll find me learning about what makes others tick through all types of media and good old-fashioned conversation. Learn more about me here.
In 2019 Never the Right Word was born to fill the gap of ‘how-to’ websites with copy and paste examples showing you EXACTLY what you need to say to steer difficult conversations into positive outcomes.
Relevant Books We Recommend...
Saying the Right Thing When You Don’t Know What to Say by Paula Shaw offers considered, comforting words and behaviors that are perfect for anyone you wish to help or support during a painful or traumatic time. Saying the Right Thing provides a clear understanding of what is necessary to create a sympathetic, positive healing environment, so that the person going through the situation can express their pain, process their emotions and begin to heal the mix of complicated (and often) negative emotions they are going through. CLICK HERE to get a copy of Saying the Right Thing.
Conversationally Speaking, by Author Alan Garner contains simple strategies for entertaining conversations. If you find it difficult to communicate with new people then this book is going to benefit you. This book presents the perfect conversation starters, explains body language, and teaches you what questions ask people when you first meet them. Garner points out key strategies that can be applied straight away to go from being tongue-tied to having fun meeting people. This revised edition provides more ways to improve conversational skills by asking questions that promote conversation, learning how to listen so that others will be encouraged to talk, reducing anxiety in social situations, and more. Get your copy of Conversationally Speaking by CLICKING HERE.
In It’s OK That You’re Not OK, author Megan Devine offers a profound new approach to both the experience of grief and the way we try to help others who have endured tragedy. In this compelling book, you’ll learn why well-meaning advice, therapy, and spiritual wisdom so often end up making it harder for people in grief. You'll learn how challenging the myths of grief—doing away with stages, timetables, and unrealistic ideals about how grief should unfold—allows us to accept grief as a mystery to be honored instead of a problem to solve. You'll receive practical guidance for managing stress, improving sleep, and decreasing anxiety without trying your pain being a problem you need to 'fix.' Lastly, you'll learn how to help the people you love. CLICK HERE to buy your copy.
With 92 little hacks for big success in relationships, How to Talk to Anyone by an internationally renowned communications expert and life coach, Leil Lowndes ensures you’ll always know what to say. These extremely usable and intelligent techniques including how to work a party like a television presenter, steering the conversation to where you would like to take it and get connected to any crowd. Lowndes explores different aspects of the conversation and how to present yourself in order to integrate successfully. There's a lot of useful information covered such as speaking the language of the addressee to build rapport. CLICK HERE get your copy of How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes from Book Depository.
Check Out Our Recommended Resources.
Looking to become a digital publisher like us? We highly recommend these tried-and-tested tools:
We Recommend Elegant Themes
The Elegant Themes membership gives you complete access to 87 amazing themes and 3 awesome plugins, including Divi, the ultimate WordPress Theme and Visual Page builder. Elegant Themes have been building the world's most popular WordPress themes for the past 10 years, and rest assured their products will always be improved and maintained.
Build Anything With Divi Theme
One of the most popular WordPress themes in the world. Building layouts is easy and fast, making it ideal to create mockups and wireframes, prototyping a design, and creating the website itself. Build from the frontend or backend. The builder is intuitive. It's easy to learn and can be used by non-developers to create amazing websites.
Customize With Divi Cake Plugins
Divi Cake’s main goal is to help the members of the Divi community find the perfect premium Divi themes, layouts, and plugins created by leading Divi developers and designers. Shop hundreds of premium Divi products like Divi child themes, Divi layouts, and Divi plugins on Divi Cake, the community-driven Divi Marketplace. Find out more about Divi Cake here.
We ❤️Shutterstock Media
We get our images from the OG in stock assets. Boost your business with the right images. They're royalty-free and ready to use. Footage & Music Libraries. 4k Images Added per Hour. No Daily Download Limit. Speedy Search & Discovery. With flexible plans and countless amounts of premium content uploaded weekly, we had to mention Shutterstock.
Skill-Up With LinkedIn Learning
When you want to enhance your professional skills with expert-led, online video tutorials, the only place to go is LinkedIn Learning (Lynda). With a subscription you get 24/7, unlimited access to over 13,000 business, design & tech online courses and with a free month. We like them because we get expert-led courses that we can access anytime, anywhere. What's not to love?
Reliable Hosting With SiteGround
SiteGround boasts a whole list of fantastic features at amazingly affordable prices. Along with multiple growth options, free site transfers and domains, built-in Content Delivery Network integrations, WordPress support, AND human support we wouldn't go to anyone else. They're basically faster, safer, and more supportive- you can check them out here.
We Trust Grammarly Premium
Even seasoned writers need a helping hand at times, that’s why we trust Grammarly Premium. As the World's Most Accurate Online Grammar Checker, Grammarly Premium goes beyond grammar to help you ensure that everything you write is clear, engaging, and professional. Try Grammarly Premium’s AI-powered assistant here.
Find Graphics With Creative Market
Creative Market is the world’s marketplace for design. Bring your creative projects to life with ready-to-use design assets from independent creators around the world. We love the unique finds, social media templates, vectors you name it they have it. I also doesn't hurt that our founder has a little store on there...
Donating to Never the Right Word will
help us produce more free content. Thank you!