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Smoothing a Customer’s Ruffled Feathers

As we enter the hecticness of the holiday season, the joy grows, and so does the stress –sometimes resulting in disgruntled customers. As anyone who’s worked in customer service knows, dealing with an angry customer can sometimes be challenging! No one enjoys being shouted at by an irate customer.

Even if the customer is merely irritated, it’s essential to handle customer complaints quickly and politely for several reasons.

  • Handling complaints appropriately and with compassion helps with customer retention.
  • A professional, appropriate response could completely change the customer’s perspective of their experience, saving you and the company from the damaging effects of their word-of-mouth complaining to family and friends.
  • Solving the problem in the short run may bring to light genuine issues that need to be resolved in the long run.

However unreasonable or legitimate their loudly proclaimed concerns may be, handling angry customers and their frustrations is a skill set that takes practice. So, here are some tips to share with your customer service team.

Stay calm

Above all else, stay calm. Training yourself not to take the customer’s frustration personally will go a long way in helping the customer to simmer down. Again, the goal is to deescalate the situation, and a defensive, come-out-swinging approach will not help.

Introduce yourself. Ask the customer’s name. Smile. Make eye contact. Shake their hand. Maintain self-control and don’t let their anger raise your ire.

Listen closely  

To understand the situation, you’re going to need to listen actively. Yes, it’s challenging to hear and understand the heart of their complaint while they are spewing with anger. But let them vent without interruption. Then, repeat back to them what you understand their frustration to be. Finally, ask good, clarifying questions. Many times, people just want to be heard.


It may be that their frustration comes from “user error” or isn’t the company’s fault at all. However, you can still empathize with them. Put yourself in their shoes. Acknowledge the situation and their frustration. Communicate to them that their concerns matter. Remember, the angriest of customers often have something else happening in their world that is at the root of their anger.

Thank them for coming to you. After all, if this was an error on you or your company’s part, knowing about it is vital to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Thank them for their patience as you go through the steps of solving the problem.

Offer a Solution

Your ultimate goal is to bring about a solution through interaction with the customer. It is not to find or place blame. Sometimes, this means offering an extra service at no cost or giving a discount. Possibly the customer wants a do-over. In some instances, an explanation solves the issue. Perhaps something needs to be fixed on your end to make the user experience easier. Whatever needs to happen, walk them through the steps clearly, always remaining compassionate and professional.

At the end of the day, the customer’s perception of their experience matters the most and is ultimately the true gauge of your success in reaching a resolution.

Build a Strong Team with A.R. Mazzotta

The A.R. Mazzotta team understands the importance of good customer relations. That’s why we want to help you build a strong and customer-responsive team. We want to be your staffing partner. So give us a call today.