Dealing with angry customers

How to deal with Angry Customers

Last week and a few weeks ago we focused on “What is good customer service? “ we wrote some tips about the training required and other things to consider when hiring and training staff for the front line. It’s important to be able to communicate well and make customers feel welcome, but sometimes it’s hard when they see RED.

So today we are writing about how to deal with negative feedback from customers. This is the other vital area in training most forget about. But feedback from angry customers can take many forms:





Each requiring similar treatment but potentially different capabilities and skills.

Over the phone/in person

Angry customers wish to have their say:

  • Let them speak for god’s sake
  • They just want to be listened to
  • To be heard and acknowledged
  • Remember to pause
  • Don’t react as it’s important to listen to the customer
  • Be understanding, say it!

Ask questions at the appropriate times to help understand the issue at hand. It’s vital to ensure that emotionally you’re not taking this personally, it’s not you!

Try to understand their point of view. Too often than not, staff are trying to prove customers wrong, or getting emotionally involved.

  1. Listen,
  2. Acknowledge and
  3. Apologise.

Saying sorry is so very simple and so very effective! As they say, put yourself in their shoes.

Ask for time to help resolve an issue if you can’t do so on the spot! If you say you’ll get back to them, do so. If you don’t that customer’s anger has just gone up the anger scale!

Remember to be kind, polite, and handle issues with diplomacy. More importantly remember once you fix the problem, please learn from the mistakes made!

Online feedback

Online feedback is another kettle of fish! But just as important. You cannot and should not ignore if you do it is at your organisation’s peril. Social media feedback is fast, instant and can go viral quickly. Some great tips that are vital for online criticism, feedback and or negative comments:

  1. Have an open mind – it’s about showing your willingness to listen openly
  2. Actively listen – to help figure out why? What? Listen first, then ask questions
  3. Stay or walk away? Some people will troll, others are not you’ll need to figure it out
  4. Follow up – check in they are still ok? Was their issue resolved?
  5. Online negative responses – need to be acknowledged, and taken offline if possible, ask for contact information to do some personal contact and offline.
  6. Take the moral high ground – stay professional and calm
  7. Lots of negative comments require investigation, is this a pattern?
  8. Keep calm, don’t escalate situations online, trollers will try to bait you and your staff.
  9. Feedback is an opportunity, to improve to enhance and to do better
  10. Don’t forget about the customers – remember to respond!
  11. Always remain to be calm
  12. Update any training, process or knowledge articles as we all need to learn from every experience

Remember to be kind, polite, and handle issues with diplomacy!

Not everyone is built to respond to negative feedback so it’s best to ensure if a staff member has not handled angry customers, that they know they can always say “let me get my manager for you, I’ll be right back!” It’s important to give your frontline staff the training needed to turn a bad situation into a good one and make all your customers happy!

Our next feature will be focused on skills and capabilities for customer service agents!