Angry Customers: 3 Steps Customer Service Reps Can Take To Deal With Aggressive Calls

WRITTEN March 7, 2019 Author: Michelle LaFiura

We’ve all dealt with angry customers.

Whether you run a business or just work there, chances are if you’ve ever held a job that deals with customers, you’ve dealt with a frustrated customer.

Whatever the circumstance, there are steps any customer service skills training will share for a representative to deal with a heated situation in business (or any other area of life that might involve conflict).

When people confront you and your business with problems, here are a few steps to find a compromise:

  1. Identify Their Emotions
    Let’s see if you recognize this situation: The phone rings and before you can even say, “hello,” somebody is screaming at you on the other end. This is NOT the time to tell the other person to calm down. This is your chance, instead, to seize the opportunity to align yourself with the customer and sympathize with their emotions. You can say something like, “I understand you’re feeling angry and frustrated. I’ve taken a deep breath and I hope you have too.”
  2. Ask Questions
    So, you have given the customer a moment to yell which also acknowledges the anger between you, it is time to move on to step 2. Now is the time to ask questions. This is the point where you want to further calm them down by encouraging the caller to talk and think.  You can continue by finding out the details of the situation and follow up with a “what can we do to make this situation right?”
  3. Get The Customer Thinking
    Finally, you can further de-escalate the situation by seeking solutions. Define all the details of the situation. Figure out what other vital information they have, something that might give you further insight for how to handle it. When you work with a caller, and ask them to pause to look up an account number or think about the details, it’s going to lower that level of emotional intensity. The more you get them thinking, talking, and speaking with rationality, the more progress you can make with the call.

It all leads to the end goal of standing on the same page and working to find common ground. Every situation is different, but these steps will often work when somebody wants to find a solution.

Take a look at the video below to see our instructor Rich Atkins while he is speaking on the subject at a recent customer service skills training class. If you would like to sign up for one of our training classes, please visit our public classes page.


Learn more about Customer Service Skills training or for other areas for improving your life – see our public class list for our upcoming seminars.


Other Resources:

4 Brilliant Tips for Dealing with Angry Customers

17 Ways to Deal with Unhappy Customers

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