What To Do When a Customer is Angry

Most of us in business have encountered the occasional angry customer. No matter what we say, this person remains angry.

Angry Man

If we each step back, I’m certain most of us will admit to being that angry customer at least once in our lifetime.

I know I’ve spoken a bit sharper than I should have a few times. I also know that I tend to lose my patience when I feel that I’m not being heard.

So, what can we do when a customer is angry? We can immediately recognize that it is not about us. We are total strangers. While we know there is anger residing in the other person, we really do not know where it is coming from.

We can also set our goal at seeking resolution versus arguing or trying to defend ourselves. When the customer sees us not getting defensive and truly trying to help, sometimes they will calm down enough to find out what the problem really is and then we can find the resolution.

Offering an apology can also help towards resolution. I know when I’ve been the angry customer, I’d much rather hear an apology versus hearing excuses about why I was not provided the service I had expected.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had a sales person try to explain why the service was lousy. Usually they tell me they are understaffed, but I’ve also heard other excuses. If you are a business owner, offer an apology, not an excuse.

Show the customer you are listening. Respond to the words they are speaking to you. Remember this person is angry; our goal is to reach a resolution that will make them happy.

Once resolution is reached, offer to follow up and then make sure you do. It’s very possible that the person has a bad day, and took it out on you. It’s also possible that by offering the best possible customer service you could, you’ve now gained a lifetime customer.

Remembering the goal is resolution can often help you in finding the answer to the customer’s anger.

Shop assistant dealing with a customer complaint

Here are some more ideas for dealing with an angry customer.

1. Remain calm and professional: It can be tempting to match the customer’s emotion, but it is important to remain composed and professional.

2. Show empathy: Acknowledge their feelings by using phrases like “I understand your frustration” or “I would feel really upset too if I were in your situation.”

3. Ask questions: Ask clarifying questions to be sure you understand what the customer is asking and what would make them satisfied.

4. Take ownership: Don’t just apologize; take ownership for the situation by reassuring the customer that their issue is being addressed.

5. Offer a solution: come up with a way to address the customer’s problem or offer a reasonable alternative if need be.

6. Follow up: Make sure to follow up after resolving an angry customer’s issue to ensure they are still satisfied with the outcome and explain any potential next steps.

By taking these steps, you can help defuse an angry customer’s situation and go above and beyond in providing excellent customer service. Even if you can’t provide a solution immediately, a customer who feels heard and understood is more likely to remain loyal. Ultimately, this will help build trust and ensure repeat business for your organization.

All in all, handling an angry customer isn’t easy but with the right approach it’s possible to come out of the situation unscathed. Remember to stay calm and professional while listening attentively, acknowledging their feelings, taking ownership of the problem, offering a reasonable solution or alternative if needed and following up afterwards. With these steps in mind, you’ll be able to ensure that both the customer and your business are satisfied with the outcome.

And that’s how you handle an angry customer. Good luck!

About the Author

Audrey Okaneko works at home and writes about various topics.

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