How to handle angry customers

Managing angry customers

Our customers are all around us. From those buying services or products from us, to our bosses and our colleagues. Most of us will have spoken to an unhappy customer at some point and it can be tricky to respond in an effective and constructive way.

Here are some tips for managing those difficult situations.


Give the customer a chance to let off steam and let them finish without interrupting. Don’t take it personally – they aren’t always angry at you, they are angry with the situation. Try to focus on the facts and reasons behind what is being said rather than how they are saying it. Keep breathing slow, deep breaths and try to remain calm.


Demonstrate to the customer that you are listening. Empathise and reflect their concerns back using their own word. Use their name as it helps to diffuse the situation and personalises the interaction.


Ask questions to explore and clarify the problem. Make sure you understand the root of the issue. Taking notes will help you concentrate and ensure you understand the issue.


Explain how you will help resolve the situation. Don’t make promises you can’t keep but take full responsibility for owning the issue and ensuring a resolution. Remain assertive. Never respond aggressively or become submissive.

What about you – how do you handle difficult situations?