How to Handle Angry Customers [Infographic]

Customers might get angry for a variety of reasons, some justified, some not. Whether they confront you face-to-face, over the phone or in Live Chat, you are likely to encounter frustration, aggressiveness, irritation and very little patience. Handling such customers is one of the most difficult, stressful and challenging parts of the customer service job.

While unhappy customers tend to spread their negative experiences through word-of-mouth, online customer reviews and comments in social media channels, it can really hurt your brand’s reputation and even lead to revenue loss. On the other hand, the right response to a customer complaint can actually turn those unsatisfied customers into your loyal fans.

Check our Infographic with 10 simple tips on how to handle angry and rude customers effectively and 10 great quotes to remember when dealing with them. Have something to add? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

How to Handle Angry Customers
How to Handle Angry Customers

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Mary Shulzhenko
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  1. This great infographic provides both the “why” and the “how to.” The stats make the case and make the case for why you can’t afford to ignore an angry customer. (And, just as important, why you should try and find them!) The ten tactics listed are simple reminders about how to get that angry or complaining customer back on track.

    Also, I appreciate being quoted – thank you, I’m flattered. We should give credit for that concept to Ted Levitt, professor at Harvard Business School. He actually said that the “function” of the business was to get and keep customers. While he was talking more about customer loyalty, no doubt that similar words apply to winning back the confidence of the complaining customer.

    1. Thank you Shep, I’m really glad you liked the Infographic!

      At our company, we’ve been making all efforts to help our customers provide outstanding customer service and prevent their clients from becoming angry.

  2. I am a big fan of Sally Gronow’s quote.

    Bad customer service is like an additional invoice, an added expense that hits the bottom line of a business. I truly believe if business owners and customer service professional recognized how expensive it is to not satisfy as many customer as possible, they would add a CRX line to their P&L.

    Great article!

    1. Thank you Jeff, I love and totally support that quote too. Bad customer service might lead to additional expenses and losses that could have been avoided with a better customer service.

  3. This is very good but dont forget: the nr1. In customer service “Do not f…. up in the first place” og more calmly said: ” do it right at once according to customer expectation”. This leads me to three major areas that has to be in place before you are ready to do business:
    1) Make the correct product and or service according to the marked need or available spot in the marked.
    2) Tell them what you can deliver no more and no less. Then deliver that no matter what with a smile, smooth, with style and no fuzz.
    3) Organize and train to the point you are ready to deliver over and over according to customer expectations.

    1. Thank you Stian, those are really great points that all business owners should keep in mind not only before starting a business but also while running it!

  4. Thank you so much, this information could not have come at a better time for me. It’s that staying positive when you keep getting knocked down. Thanks again.

  5. These are all great points and I can only think of one other – you have about 15 seconds to complete item 1. Once the customer believes you care about them and their problem, they will be more patient but if you don’t make that connection quickly, you can lose them.

    1. Thank you Margaret, I agree, the most important thing is to make a positive connection with a customer from the very start.

  6. One day i was confronted by a guest whose room was not cleaned since morning as she had put a no disturb sign on her door nob,i listened to her very keenly and at end took charge of supervising her room to be cleaned by the house keeping personel,though she was furious and abusive,i apologised to her and was there assisting the house keeper to make her room.
    The following day she came for the breakfast and apologised to me for what she said that night,telling me she didnt know if i was the Night Manager but i told her, i was doing my job,her satisfactory is my archivement,from that date we became friends and she used to tell my colleques how i made her room that she could not believe a Night Manager could that.she stayed with hotel for one month.
    So this is to say,listen,apologise and satisfy your customer by taking charge of whatever he or she is complaining about.

  7. This is really helpful… I do come up with lots of unsatisfied customers in my restaurant.. My dad has made a terrible mistakes during his days giving more than 10 % sometimes even goes up to 20% discounts on the total bill.. I try to convince one of my customers politely that it is no more feasible enough for me to provide any discounts,plus we do not charge them any service charge or tax.. The next day i saw him going to my competitor.. I wonder how to satisfy those customers.. Any suggestions would be appreciated..

    1. Thank you Umesh. I think that in the restaurant business you simply can’t satisfy all your customers. There will always be those looking for something more. And if you can’t give them that more, just let them go.

  8. Thank you so much Mary for the tips. They are quite helpful but I have a thing about No. 4 (ask more questions to really understand the problem) some guests get more angry when you try to find out get more information from them and it takes the situation totally out of your control. What does one do in such situations.

    1. Thank you for the question, Bukola. I would try to explain them (before asking any questions), that I am totally on their side and I really want to help and solve their problem as quickly as possible, and for that I would need some additional information. In other words, show them a caring attitude and your genuine willingness to help.

  9. Thanks for creating this infographic as well for giving permission to share it. I think your advice will benefit some of our customers. This IS one of the most challenging aspects of customer service and your advice is solid. As a big fan of good quotations, the 10 quotes are a nice bonus touch.

  10. In a previous government career, I dealt with irate citizens on a daily basis. The rules listed here are spot on. But, there are two other things to keep in mind. The customer may be angry about something other than what they’re verbalizing, but thry can[‘t reach the source of their frustration and transfer their anger to you. Caareful questioning can reach the true cause of their anger and will give you a chance to resolve it. There are also some people who cannot be pacified. I learned through experience that these people often have complaints about everybody. In short, they create their own misery. These folks are not worth your distress. Do the best you can and move.on.

    1. Thank you Richard. You’re right about those types of angry customers, and unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about them.

  11. Thank you for giving me a great refresher when it comes to angry customers. There is one point that I differ from slightly. I do not believe that the customer is always right. I believe that the customer has a 50 percent chance of being right. 😉 However, I do believe that no matter right or wrong, the attitude that I hope I convey to the team is that the customer must always come first. It doesn’t matter who is right, it only matters that you are putting the customer first.

    1. Thank you Jennifer, perfectly said! No matter if the customer is wrong or right, putting the customer first is the right attitude.

  12. I’ve been a long-time CSR for a company selling a yogurt maker, and irate customers still get to me, no mater how many tips I’ve read and applied. I do wish some of customers would learn to hold back once in a while, and not just bite your head off all the time.

  13. One unhappy client can reach literally thousands of people, sending their complaint about your company viral. Sadly, negative comments seem to be more contagious than positive ones. You’ve probably seen video clips where customer service personnel aggravated situations by their rudeness; by not listening and not resolving the complaint. Unresolved complaints tend to escalate. They get posted to social media pages and more and more unhappy customers join the conversation. The louder the conversation gets, the more the negative sentiment towards your brand will spread to other people in your target market. By providing good customer service and making customers feel heard you can minimize your negative publicity. that is how you deal Man with customer.

    1. Thank you Anna, you’re right, negative comments always spread faster and can damage a brand’s reputation in a blink of an eye.

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