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Five Ways to Diffuse an Angry Customer


  ufp1 generaldocs IHD Services Images for Blog dreamstime 14564990Angry customers are one of the biggest challenges in the customer service industry. These frustrated individuals can quickly ruin the day of even your best CSR – particularly if you do not train your staff to handle complaints competently.

The first step in resolving a difficult situation is to diffuse the customer's anger so they are ready to listen to your solution. We have five ways to take the wind out of an angry customer's sails.

Begin by Listening

Most irate customers need time to vent before they are ready to listen to what you have to say. Give them that time right from the beginning – actively listening to the complaint so you can get to the underlying problem and a possible solution.

Sometimes it helps to repeat the problem back to the customer to ensure you have heard them correctly and understand the problem accurately. Clarifying questions can also help you get a good grasp of the situation so you can recommend a viable solution as quickly as possible.

Do Not Answer Emotion with Emotion

It is easy to get emotional when someone gets angry with you. However, the furious customer on the other side of the counter or phone line is likely not mad at you – but rather angry at your company. If you can avoid taking the complaint personally, you will be more likely to respond to the customer's anger with calm and patience.

If you feel your temperature rising, excuse yourself for just a moment to calm down or bring another staff member into the picture that can provide a calming influence.

Watch Your Tone and Volume

The best way to counter a high volume from a customer is with a low one that exudes calm and patience. By the same token, watch your tone when you are responding to an angry customer. If the client senses sarcasm, nastiness or condescension in your voice, you are more likely to escalate the situation, rather than diffuse it.

Apologize When Warranted

There are times when a customer is angry over a legitimate mistake made by your company. In these circumstances, an apology is in order, and since you are the official representative of the company at that time, you are the right person to offer that apology.

Take Responsibility, Take Action

Once you understand the customer's complaint, it is time to take action. Since you are the front line for this particular issue, you automatically become the "go-to" person to find a resolution. Even if you have to bring in another employee or department to rectify the situation, it is important to follow up with the customer personally so that they know you are seeing the issue through to the end.

Angry customers are one of the most challenging aspects of customer service, but they are also an opportunity. If you can successfully diffuse an irate customer and find an acceptable solution to their complaint, you can transform that angry person into a loyal customer for life.

-Meredith Estep


Dealing with angry customers can be really tricky; I like how this article suggests that the person taking the call should accept the blame on behalf of the company. That will give the caller a sense that the person they are speaking to genuinely cares about the problem.
Posted @ Friday, June 03, 2011 8:37 AM by Joe
I think that one of the best tactics for diffusing an angry cusomer is to take ownership and initiative. There is nothing worse than when you feel like the person assisting you is bothered. I find that those that are listen and will do whatever it takes to resolve my issue will get my business time and time again.
Posted @ Friday, June 03, 2011 9:16 AM by Keri
In frustrating situations one of the best things a vendor can do is offer an apology. Very good point!
Posted @ Friday, June 03, 2011 9:19 AM by EC
This is a great article! Great tips on how to handle less than happy customers!
Posted @ Friday, June 03, 2011 9:20 AM by Kristy
As a customer, I have had experiences to be unhappy with a company's mess up or carelessness. When handled correctly, those unhappy experiences have been turned into positive experiences and turned me into their loyal customer. 
Excellent article!
Posted @ Friday, June 03, 2011 9:38 AM by Stacy
Having the ability to diffuse and satisfy an angry customer is a necessary skill that all customer service representatives should have. Many times, if the representative is successful in providing excellent service, the once angry customer may become one of your most loyal customers!
Posted @ Friday, June 03, 2011 10:39 AM by Jenny
Great point! Just a simple sincere apology goes a long way.
Posted @ Friday, June 03, 2011 12:08 PM by Angelica
People Alignment article to use in August
Posted @ Thursday, April 12, 2012 2:51 AM by Dawn
unhappy quest is our sources for learning..
Posted @ Tuesday, May 15, 2012 12:37 PM by jocenard soriano
thank you guys 
Posted @ Friday, November 16, 2012 10:49 AM by empire
yes all the step are good but it does not work with some really bad one's. cant help the person who dont want to listen and give time to resolve. d-sat and c-sat game takes customer care excutives job(the agent lose the job but problem remains). the problem is not always agent who is assisting customer. he/she represent company but they dont run the company. so its waste to fight with agent or take furstration on them. the more nicely customer speak more queckly resolution comes. the more we talk loudly and scream at agents they get frighten, lose confidence and your problem remain the same. would you like if some shout at you. i fond when i shout or get angry my problem is same and time to resolve the problem is same.. its all me who created drama.. when i speak nicely to rep he gave me refund for delay and fixed my problem in no time. bcoz they are also human being not superman... when we fight there thought process stop for some time and being as natural man they come in deffence mood. but most of them are trained to listen to all our abuse and anger. but are we doing right with them? i will never get angry on any callcenter agent coz i know its not there fault.
Posted @ Tuesday, June 03, 2014 3:17 PM by jackleen bernard
Great post! Been reading a lot about customer service. Thanks for the info here!
Posted @ Monday, June 09, 2014 1:01 PM by Customer Service
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