What is the CARP system for defusing angry and difficult customers?

CARP reminds us that timing is important when dealing with any upset or angry individual

What is the CARP system for defusing angry and difficult customers?

The CARP acronym was developed by Robert Bacal to help people in customer service jobs to sequence and time their defusing hostile customers actions correctly. Timing is absolutely critical in determining whether you are successful in calming an angry or abusive customer.

The CARP system is outlined, and explained in detail in The Defusing Hostile Customers Workbook but here’s a basic summary, taken from the book.

The CARP system is a way to remind yourself about the four major pieces of defusing hostility. Learn more about what we call an umbrella strategy.

* Control – The key in reasserting control is to behave in ways that send the subtle sub message “your techniques (attempts to cause you to become defensive, angry, or off-balance) are not going to work on me”.

* Acknowledge – It is important that the angry person see that you understand his/her emotional state and the situation. Two major techniques to apply here are empathy and active listening.

* Refocus – Refocusing involves making the transition from dealing with the emotions to dealing with the actual problem.

* Problem-Solve – Problem-solving involves actions like getting and giving information, suggesting possibilities and appearing helpful, offering choices……… and following through.

graphic that shows the CARP system for dealing with angry people

Author: Robert Bacal

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