When you’re in an argument with someone you know, it’s easy to clam up, get defensive, or lose sight of how to solve the problem. Get in a more constructive mindset by adopting some customer service strategies.
People who work in customer service know that, even if someone’s angry at them, there’s almost always something they can do to de-escalate the situation. Business blog Entrepreneur explains this from the perspective of actual customer service, but many of these tricks can be used for any dispute between two people. For example, own your mistakes, but don’t accept responsibility for something you can’t control:
If any part of a customer’s dissatisfaction doesn’t pertain to the service that he or she could have reasonably expected you to provide, be sure to say this. (This is the “customer is not always right” part.) It doesn’t mean that you should hide behind the fine print of your terms and conditions. But if someone expected you to provide a service that you clearly don’t provide, point that out. Providing a better understanding might give you a better chance at retaining that customer.
Obviously, your personal relationships are different from customer service, and treating the people in your life like customers all the time is probably not a good idea long-term. But good customer service knows how to defuse situations, identify problems, and come to constructive resolutions for everyone involved. And many of these strategies can be useful for disputes everywhere else.