Let's take a quick trip down memory lane to Junior High science class. Mr. Perchau had a sealed tobacco can on the lab desk in the front of the class. Slowly and methodically, heat and pressure were applied to the sealed can. What do you think eventually happened?
Thanks to Mr. Perschau, I learned that when you apply heat and pressure to a sealed object, things tend to get explosive.
Fast forward to your role as a Customer Service Representative. You pick up the phone and, WHAMMO!, you are immediately attacked verbally by a customer who is incensed about some issue. You feel the instantaneous application of heat and pressure.
Do you ever feel your heart beating out of your chest when dealing with an irate caller? That's your blood pressure building. Your blood pressure builds as you stop breathing. And when enough pressure builds up, guess what often happens?
One of the keys to working with angry customers is making sure that you don't explode. Once that happens and you lose control, you will rarely recover that customer experience to a positive outcome. To keep the pressure from building, you need to consciously tell yourself to keep breathing. It sounds so simple, but the constriction in your breathing is an unconscious physical reaction, it works against you, and most people are unaware that it's happening.
When the customers heat up and the pressure builds – take a deep breath and keep breathing.