Handling Angry Customers

201887_face_-_mad If you work in a business that deals with people in an ongoing way then you are probably familiar with dealing with negative attitudes. As we know people cannot always be on their best behavior, especially if they received a product that did not work or was broke. Or possibly the service that they expected was not delivered.

Even after working in a people service business for many years I still get surprised at the negative things people will say to us when they come to our office and are bringing unexpected (at least to us) baggage with them.

It is quite a challenge to try to turn them around, meet their needs and correct the problem in the time they are there, and at times we are not successful. To tell the truth, even if we had all day, with some people there is no winning over the situation.

But don’t think that all is lost when you encounter a “tough customer” because there are a few simple tactics you can use on a negative attitude that just might work.

  • When someone is complaining to you, ask them to be specific about the problem.  They may try to continue with the same statements, but bring them back to what the specifics are so you can really understand where they are coming from and without being specific you cannot really help them.  Many times they cannot be specific because it is an attitude issue and when they realize it, they are sort of up against a wall because they cannot pin-point the exact problem. When this happens they will usually calm down.

When  you get someone who will just not come around and they  are on a rampage, remember these two simple things that you can do;

  • You need  to “let go”  and don’t challenge them.
  • You need to “choose to continue to be positive”.

The person may not change their negative attitude, but you do not have to let it get to you.  You can continue to smile, let them know that you want to help them however you can, but do not let them get the best of you.

You have the choice, even though it may be hard at times, remember 99% of the time the problem has nothing to do with you personally, it is about a situation.

The link below has some good points when it comes to dealing with negative, difficult people.  I am sure you will find a few more good points to follow.

Why don’t you look at it this way, encountering difficult customers can be an exciting time to practice your people service skills, each encounter will make you better to handle the next.

Dealing with Difficult Customers


6 thoughts on “Handling Angry Customers

  1. Tina,

    So true about the power to choose how you handle the negativity of an angry customer. Often a calm response in face of anger will take the wind out of their sails and help diffuse the situation. It’s hard to sustain negativity when someone is being polite in return.

    Thanks for the great post!



    • Hi Carol, you are so right. One of my front office assistants is so sweet that people actually back down when talking to her. I think it is because they don’t want to hurt her feelings. Being nice, sweet but getting the information across it the best approach. Have a great night.


      • My mother was from the Deep South and she was a master at “killing them with kindness”. By taking the high road and being nice it makes it so hard for people to be mean in return.

        Unfortunately, there are still those who will lash out no matter what you do. It’s important to keep in mind that you have no idea of what is going on in their world so all you can do is be nice and move on as you said.


  2. Great post! I have worked with some sort of customer service for years and am always amazed what people may say and do. Wonderful blog of knowledge and experience. Thank you.


    • Hi and how are you? You are correct it is very amazing in how people will act or react in business transactions. I guess it will always keep us on our toes…. we need to be ready for just about anything. And put a smile on our face as we do so 🙂


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