It’s what you do – not who you are
Anyone in the working environment who needs to interact with other people will encounter criticism one time or another. This gets more frequent the moment you need to deal with customers. Boy, can they let it rip at times, huh? Letting your feelings respond for you and push back by taking this personal will only end badly for all parties involved. The customer will get more upset and most likely yell more and louder.
Just before you respond to anyone in this situation, take a moment and ponder whether or not what was said criticized what you do. That means your job function, your company, your company’s policy (hope you are not actually muttering this word in front of a customer though), etc. You will find that very few if any call will ever by about only you and how you personally caused an issue because of who you are. If it was about you, then take it as an opportunity and evaluate yourself and if you need to make any changes – make them quickly.
There is of course a limit of how much of a personal attack you should subject yourself to. Fortunately there are options. It is a good practice to ask the other party if you should get off the phone until such time that the conversation gets more professional again. The last resort is to hang up with the customer for the time being and calling back later.
Allowing people to vent and to just listen may be tough, but the rewards are worth it. Avoid letting your ego make an entrance into this action. Make sure to tell the customer what you will do for him. Hold your commitment and repeat. Go the extra mile and you turn a sour customer into a loyal good customer over time.