How to Prepare for Customer Service Emergencies

Customer service emergencies
Customer service emergencies

“Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” – President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
If your team is properly trained and faces all customer service challenges efficiently without any confusions and rudeness then your business will boost and the number of loyal customers will increase. However, if there is any room left to confusion, ignorance, fear and mistakes, then your customer service team is not as brilliant and well trained as it should be.

There are common situations when your customer service agents can be taken aback and lose control of themselves or the situation. In this blog article I would like to highlight some challenges your customer service team may face and give some recommendations on how to handle them efficiently and gain control over the situation.

What to do when you do not know?

The biggest mistake is to answer “I do not know”. Though your customers may express a sympathy, especially if you are a new customer service team member, they expect another answer and are not interested in hearing about your lack of knowledge. Instead, you can reply “Let me quickly check this” or “Just a moment, let me find this out for you”. Even if you are new and do not have all needed information, your customers would like to know that you are doing your best to give them an answer.

What to do when a feature does not work?

It is very irritating when technology fails, even if the issue has been reported to management and your team is doing their best to fix it. Your frustration is understandable, but this is something your customers in no case should be aware of. The key things for dealing with customers in such situations are action and empathy. Listen to customers, apologize and calmly explain the problem and what kind of actions are being taken to find a solution. Keep your customers updated about the progress, let them know how long it will take to find a solution and never leave them without providing detailed information.

What to do if you have made a mistake?

If you made a mistake, there is nothing worse than hiding this and trying to sort things out behind your customer’s back. Just be ready to take accountability for it. Your customers will understand the situation because we all are human beings and can mess up. Here are four tips which will help you find the way out of this kind of situation:

  • “Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan” (proverb). Be courageous to apologize and take accountability.
  • Try to expedite a solution and contact all customers who were impacted by your mistake.
  • If the resolution requires more time, report the issue to your manager and offer your customer some bonus.
  • Follow up with your customers after the solution has been found and ensure that your customers are satisfied.

What to do if promises were not kept?

One of the worst things done by companies is promising and then breaking those promises. Our customers have some expectations, business needs, etc. When a feature had been promised and then not provided or an item was not delivered on promised time our customers feel not only frustrated but they may also lose money or trust and loyalty of their own customers. What can you do here? Apologize, apologize and one more time apologize. After your apologies have been accepted, you can offer some bonus, e.g. one month of free service or a larger discount. This way you will be able to partially indemnify those losses caused by your broken promises.

What to do when an item is not available?

If for some reason your website or database had not been updated in time and your customer ordered an item which was no longer available then your task is to propose the best alternative or find out the date when the needed item will be available again. In this situation you need to keep calm and apologize because your customer or prospect lost time on ordering that missing item and it’s natural that they may vent their anger and complain.

What to do if customers complain?

Handling customer complaints is one of the essential pillars of customer service. Moreover, when customers complain they tell us that something is wrong. Check this Dos and Donts list which will help you handle customer complaints properly:

Customer Service Complaints handling
Dos and Donts List for Handling Customer Service Complaints


This type of negative experience can be turned into opportunities. A complaint does not always mean something is wrong. This way our customers tell us where we should improve. It’s just a valuable source which should not be neglected. It’s critical for any business to turn a complaint into a positive for the customer and for the company moving forward.

The Bottom Line

There is no possibility to avoid or predict emergencies during the customer service workflow. But if customer service agents do not show confusion, quickly find the right solutions, address the situation properly and turn complaints into positive then such company will win loyal customers who will become brand advocates and share positive experience across social media networks.

If you have examples of  how to effectively handle customer service emergencies you are welcome to share them with our blog readers.



  1. It’s really true: “This type of negative experience can be turned into opportunities. A complaint does not always mean something is wrong. This way our customers tell us where we should improve. It’s just a valuable source which should not be neglected. It’s critical for any business to turn a complaint into a positive for the customer and for the company moving forward.”

  2. Dealing with people is not really a simple task, knowing how to revert situations is a great virtue for those who want to get involved in areas that depend on direct contact with the consumer, learn to deal with situations and make a not a yes, it is really difficult , But it is not impossible, congratulations for the excellent article!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Ricardo. You just need to be well-prepared to such situations and never get confused.

  3. Olga I agree with what you said, but there are situations that happen without a day that is difficult to reverse, especially when we are having problems at home too, there are things that it is difficult to forget and that ends up hurting in the care, so it is essential to be prepared And especially know how to separate personal things from professional things

    1. You are right, Dany. It’s a human factor that often has a strong influence on employees’ performance and it is important not to let personal issues impact their work.

  4. It’s just a valuable source which should not be neglected. It’s critical for any business to turn a complaint into a positive for the customer and for the company moving forward.”

  5. Im wondering if someday I will be prepared for emergencies… Everybody knows that the theory is very different from the practice..

    Anyway, keep this good work and thanks for sharing!

  6. I believe that this type of work is one of the most stressful that exists today and also requires a lot of training and preparation time, acting in emergency situations is not easy, very good article.

  7. When we work with costumer support it’s primordial that our team have patient to listen for people complains. If not, probably you’re going to have an headache.

  8. Olga parabéns por trazer um conteúdo tão rico em informações tão importantes. Embora nunca estejamos preparados para situações semelhantes, a partir do momento que encontramos orientações como as suas já dá pra gente ter uma certa noção de como agir na hora que se deparar com alguma dessas situações, afinal, trabalhar com pessoas é complicado. Obrigado por compartilhar conosco.

  9. We are always dealing with this situations… last week My client’s site went down, my costumer support went crazy trying to deal with that problem…
    Being ready is always important to solve issues a lot faster than normal.

    great content!! thanks

    1. Thank you for your comment, Pablo. I am glad you enjoyed reading our blog and totally agree with you that if you prepare to emergencies in customer service, your team will not go crazy while resolving issues and communicating with customers.

  10. That’s true. ….Today I saw a box of electricity exploding in Ebony park Midrand. .As it exploded they were massive massive flames of fire .under they were some houses. …By the time I saw some flames. ..I then quickly foned 112 emergency number to report the incident quickly….They transferd me to fire department as I asked but Sizakele the one who was assisting me was very rude. …The lady was talking to me as she was talking to a 2 year kid I was even afraid to talk to her….I thought I was assisting my community by so doing, as we do as we se water spillage, we report it……That lady is not trained properly to do her job….

    1. Thank you for your comment, Zacharia. It’s a terrible experience and unfortunately this happens too often.

Comments are closed.