7 Tips on How to Handle Angry Customers Without Losing Your Cool

December 3, 2012

Working in customer service can be easy and rewarding when someone calls with a compliment or simple problem to solve. However, some customers make it tough to keep your composure. When you are speaking rude or angry customers, it is a natural reaction for you to want to get angry in return—but you are at work and you cannot let that happen. Below are seven tips on how to handle angry customers without losing your cool.

1. Don’t Take It Personally

Although angry customers take their frustration out on you, they know that you did not cause their problem. Allow them to vent about their problem, but do not take it personally. Listen to their story without interrupting and then find a way to help.

2. Never Argue Back

It is natural for upset customers to express their anger, but some customers can take things too far and your reaction may be to defend yourself. However, as a professional customer service specialist, you should never argue back. Maintain your integrity and be the better person. If customers begin to abuse you verbally, let them know that you understand their frustration and that being rude will not solve their problem. Let the customer know that you are there to help, but you cannot do so until they calm down.

3. Kill Them with Kindness

If your angry customer refuses to calm down, then kill them with kindness. Be sincere, respectful, and understanding. Show sympathy for their situation and express empathy for their frustration. By keeping calm and controlling your own anger, you may find that your customer will ease up a little too. Try to make a joke to lighten the mood or share a story to show that you can relate.

4. Be Patient

Each person and situation is different, so be patient and understand that it may take a little longer for some angry customers to relax—and some may get angrier as the call or live chat continues. Stay in control and try to direct the conversation to a happy resolution. Do not rush the phone call or live chat, but keep in mind that you have other customers to help.

5. Know How to Apologize

When the time is right, apologize to your customer. I know how difficult it is to be sincere when you are trying not to lose your cool, but for the sake of calming down your customer, try your hardest to give a genuine apology. Depending on the customer’s complaint and the direction of the conversation, there are a few different ways you can apologize.

  • “I’m sorry you are unhappy with your purchase. Let’s work together to turn things around.”
  • “I’m sorry you didn’t receive your purchase on time. Let me find out what I can do to make it up to you.”
  • “I’m sorry you are so frustrated. I understand where you are coming from, and I will do my best to help you.”

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6. Solve the Problem

Once your angry customer has finally exhausted his or herself, ask questions to gather facts on the problem. Work with your customer to find a resolution that satisfies you both or else you will go right back to where your conversation began. However, keep in mind that you are running a business and do not overcompensate for the customer’s complaint. The solution should be fair and justifiable for both parties.

7. Relieve Your Stress

End the phone call or live chat on a happy note and find a way to relieve your stress. Let your anger go away with your customer. Whether you take a walk around the office, drink a cup of coffee, eat a piece of candy, or vent to a coworker, do not keep stress cooped up inside you. If you do not relieve your stress, you will be a ticking time bomb waiting to lose your cool on the next angry customer—or even worse, your boss.

How Do You Handle Angry Customers?

Keeping your cool with angry customers is not always as easy as it sounds. Share your tips on how to maintain composure when dealing with an upset customer. Tell us a story of the rudest, most unreasonable customer you have helped over the phone or through a live chat.

Written by Meghan Faye Wolff | Meghan Faye Wolff is the senior copywriter and marketing specialist at Instabill—an international credit card process that offers merchant account services. Meghan writes website content and blog posts as well as manages the company's social media. For the latest e-commerce news, follow Instabill on Twitter @instabill_com.