Keep Rage Out of Customer Service

John Krautzel
Posted by

Workers are generally required to act professionally towards all customers, which isn't always easy. Dealing with angry customers is a challenging and sometimes scary aspect of customer service jobs, especially when the customer is hostile and aggressive. The stress of handling such customers can lead to rage, which is usually expressed violently. To prevent this, you must master techniques that help keep you and your customers calm as you attempt to solve their problems.

Listen Intently

To communicate effectively with irate customers, you must understand exactly why they're upset. To accomplish this, listen intently as the customer explains the problem. Focus your attention on everything the customer says, and give him a little time to vent, since venting can help angry customers release bottled-up negative emotions. Nothing inflames an angry client more than a defensive, argumentative customer service provider, so keep your cool as the customer speaks, listen to the entire story without cutting him off and don't take insults personally. If If you need clarification, ask for it at the end.

Accept the Customer's Grievance

Even if you don't agree with the customer and think he's wrong, accept what he has to say. Accepting the customer's grievance without questioning or doubting the events gives the impression that you believe him, which is what the customer wants. Instead of wasting time attempting to disprove his argument, start the process of finding a solution to the problem.

Express Empathy

Expressing empathy is one way to dramatically decrease your chance of expressing rage. Put yourself in the customer's shoes. Would you feel frustrated if you received horrible customer service or spent hundreds of dollars on a faulty product? If so, let the customer know. Tell him you can relate to the issue and understand his frustration. Use empathy to build a rapport with the customer and to help keep him calm. Genuine empathy also makes your desire to help more sincere.


Always apologize to the customer, even if you think his complaint is unwarranted. As a customer service provider, your goal is to keep the customer calm, and offering a simple and straightforward apology is one way to diffuse a hostile situation almost instantly. Make sure your apology sounds sincere. If you don't agree with the customer's argument, apologize for his dissatisfaction with your product or service.

Offer a Solution

Once you gain a clear understanding of the customer's complaint, offer a solution that's likely to satisfy the customer. Never offer solutions that you can't fulfill, as this might reignite the customer's hostility. If necessary, speak with a customer service manager about the situation to ensure the best possible outcome.

Handling irate customers by expressing rage not only displays a lack of professionalism, but it also prevents you from solving the customer's problem as quickly and efficiently as possible. As a customer service professional, it's important that you lead by example. Avoid getting angry, and make every attempt to turn aggressive, hostile customers into clients who feel satisfied with the resolution and plan to continue patronizing your business.

Photo courtesy of  imagerymajestic at


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch