Top 5 Steps to Effectively Handle Angry or Difficult Customers

No matter how good the customer service is, sometimes things go differently than expected. Most of us have encountered an ordeal where the client and the customer service end up in a misunderstanding, or they have experienced it themselves. We can prevent these ordeals by understanding that people have different personalities and communication skills. Some misunderstandings can lead to adverse outcomes for the company; for example, the client can sue the company or ask for a refund. Things can escalate quickly if the matter isn’t handled. However, some tips can help you deal with such a scenario. Here are some of the steps on how to diffuse an angry customer effectively.

Try to control your emotions.

Human beings have a natural reflex to attack rather than defend themselves when attacked. Staying in control can be difficult, but it can help ease or even solve the situation quickly. This is the first step during such a scenario; hence every customer care agent should train themselves in this skill.

Work on your active skills

One of the most critical steps to take when you encounter an angry client, focus on your listening skills. This, however, doesn’t mean that you should watch the client rant without saying something. First, you must listen to understand the root cause of the misunderstanding. The aim is to show the client that you are ready to solve any problem they are experiencing. Sometimes, you might have no solution but make the client feel heard. You acknowledge whatever is happening and are ready to take action.

There are several ways you can improve your active listening skills; here are a few tips;

  • Take advantage of verbal’s cues such as ‘I’m following
  • Never interrupt the client when they are talking 
  • Ask questions for clarity and understanding
  • Ensure that you capture in detail what the client is angry about 
  • Never talk back, as this ignites the issue even more 

Be the bigger person and apologize first 

Apologizing can ease the tension and further diffuse the client’s anger. Ensure that you apologize for any inconvenience caused or any misunderstanding. Take note that the apology should be before any solution is suggested. 

Try not to take it personally. 

Most of the time, the client is usually overwhelmed by issues that are unrelated to you. Others might be having a rough day, so always try not to become an angry customer service staff. Remember that you are not being targeted. This will help you remain calm and slow to anger. You could take a step back and seek help from your supervisor or even ask your colleagues for some advice.

Maintain a factual conversation 

As much as you would love to assist the client, ensure that you have a reasonable conversation. This means you should solve the issues based on clear facts about the problem and practical solutions. Repeat their concerns between the discussions to show that you are listening to them. 


The chances of encountering an angry client or even becoming an angry customer care agent are very high. Hence, the critical steps can guide you through handling such an encounter effectively.

Photo credits: Coworking London