Keep calm and chatter on - How to deal with an angry customer

Although popular customer service philosophy dictates that the customer is always right, many individuals who work within the industry strongly disagree with that sentiment. While the fantasy of using colourful language to school your caller may seem appealing in theory, you may find that such an approach will ultimately yield disastrous results in practice. Here are some of our top tips on how you can pacify an angry caller without losing them as a customer.

Step 1 – Listen to the grievance:

Can you think of one person who appreciates it when someone talks over them? To be honest, neither can we. Even though you may occasionally feel that a phone conversation is becoming a nuisance due to the caller repeating themselves or relaying irrelevant information, do not interrupt them under any circumstances, but thoroughly listen to their grievance instead. Customers will greatly appreciate your listening ear, and will remember you for it.

Step 2 – Keep calm and chatter on:

Do your best to remain objective rather than take an angry customer’s angry call personally. If you allow yourself to become high strung and emotional, you will project that negative energy to the person on the other end of the line, and this will only succeed in fanning the flames of aggression. Here are some strategies to help you remember to keep calm next time you have an angry caller on the line:

  • Take a deep breath, and count to 10:  Remember what we said about listening attentively? Take that time to mentally calm yourself down.
  • Remember that the customer isn't angry at you: Although it may seem as though the caller is angry at you, the reality is that they are angry at the situation. This will make you more inclined to assist them in solving the problem.
  • Empathise with the caller: If you have listened to the grievance, put yourself in your caller’s shoes. Understanding the cause of their frustration will make you more empathetic to their plight, and thus more inclined to help them.

Step 3 – Express interest by repeating information:

Always keep a note pad handy so that you can write down any crucial points presented to you by the customer. That way you can then read the information back to them to ensure that you have not left any points out of your notes, and simultaneously reassure them that you have a genuine interest in their plight and will do everything within your power to remedy the situation.

Step 4 – Don’t put the caller on hold:

While this may seem like an immediate solution to the problem, providing both you and the caller with an opportunity to catch a breather and calm down, you may find that placing an angry caller on hold might have the exact opposite of the desired effect. For all they know, you could be putting them on hold in order to make disparaging remarks about them while they’re out of earshot, or because you have no intention of dealing with their grievance. Instead, aim to look into records or any documentation related to their grievance that may be available, and walk them through your investigation process so that they understand what exactly may have gone wrong, and what steps can be taken to fix the problem.

Step 5 – Find ways to pacify and satisfy your caller:

In determining solutions to customer complaints, one must be fully versed in company policies regarding grievances. Depending on what the rules of your company are, here are some ways that you can pacify and satisfy your caller:

  • Offer compensation for their trouble: If your company permits, offer the caller a voucher or refund for their inconvenience. This is perhaps the best way to show customers how invested you are in keeping them satisfied.
  • Go above and beyond what is expected of you: Before ending a call, ask the person on the other end of the line if there is anything else you can help them with. Your caller will certainly appreciate your initiative in this regard.
  • Turn their frown upside down: You can do this by complimenting your caller on their patience, or by telling a funny story, joke or anecdote to lighten up the mood. Remember to smile when you talk, as customers will hear it in your voice.

Customer service advisors need to remember that everyone is human, and as such will occasionally air their own set of frustrations and grievances. Being empathetic and expressing genuine interest in resolving the issue will strengthen a customer’s faith in your capabilities. Ricky Gervais once said: ‘kindness is magic’, and we certainly agree!

Do you have what it takes to work in a call centre? We have a wide range of call centre jobs to choose from, whether you are looking for a telesales jobs, customer service jobs, or call centre team leader & manager jobs. Don’t delay, visit to view our vacancies nationwide.

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