You run into difficult situations with tenants, such as someone frustrated over an ongoing maintenance issue. Your goal is to de-escalate these encounters while remaining professional throughout the interaction. Sometimes it can be difficult, especially if you're dealing with a non-paying tenant, but you can use these methods to keep everything under control.
You don't have to agree with the tenant's complaint to show sympathy for their situation. In many cases, simply showing that you're listening to what they're saying can quickly calm them down so you can have a productive conversation. One way to do this is to repeat what they told you, in your own words. If you're misunderstanding some aspect of their concern, they can correct it right away rather than letting frustration mount. Also make sure to apologize for their frustrations.
Take a Problem Solving Stance
The tenant doesn't always get what they want for a resolution, depending on the situation. When you take a proactive problem solving stance, they feel better because something is getting done about the problem. Try to frame it as a collaborative effort so the tenant feels involved and in the loop. Start off by either promising to fix the issue and providing a timeframe if it's something you can immediately address. For example, basic maintenance issues get handled with a quick call and a check-in with the tenant on their availability.
Sometimes you can't resolve a problem so easily, especially if you don't agree with what the tenant wants as a solution. Counter with a reasonable compromise and explain the reasoning behind it. Sometimes tenants don't know why you can't do something, and they're more understanding once they have this information.
Stay in Touch
Confrontation is difficult and it's natural to want to avoid putting yourself in that situation. However, if you give a tenant a run-around they're going to get far more frustrated than they originally were. By addressing issues head-on, you limit the amount of anger and resentment that could build up in your tenant. You improve the long-term relationship by dealing with some short term discomfort. If the tenant is argumentative and angry to the point of getting in the way of a productive conversation, disengage politely and reconnect at a later time.
Keep your voice calm and even toned. You may have a natural inclination to match the volume and intensity of the tenant, but that escalates the situation and makes everything worse. You don't have to sit there and take verbal abuse, but you do need to remain in control of the conversation.