How to handle an angry customer on the phone – 14 Proven Steps

irate customer talking over phone

You will always face irate customers. Angry customer is a norm. It is reality. But how do you handle an angry customer on the phone? This is the million dollar question. How you answer this question makes or breaks the business. Below are the most used and highly effective steps.


14 Proven Steps on how to hand irate customers on the phone

Below are 14 proven steps on how to handle irate customers over the phone. These are proven steps. Follow the steps. We guarantee you will be closer to satisfying the customer than ever before.


You are Not responsible for what happened

It is the mindset. You are not the person who is solely responsible. You are the person listening to the grievance. There is a difference. You need to know that each time. Customer has a bad experience due to something that does not concern you. But at this stage, you are the contact. Always know that. Though the  customer is targeting you, you do not have to take the blame. Once this is accepted, things fall in place.

Call center HR managers also check this mindset. Call center interview for beginners always has a question on how you handle angry customer over the phone.


Remain Calm

Remain calm. There is no need to hyper extend the dialogue. Or even respond back immediately with the same tone. Take deep breaths. Do not worry. It is all going to be fine. Calmness is the key. You are having a great day. Never spoil it. Not even worth it at all.


Allow the customer to vent out

Let the customer vent out. This is the time to remain quiet. Let the customer complain. His noise matters. Let it all out. Let him explain why he is unhappy. Ask the right question. And you will get a direct answer. Customer only wants someone to understand and listen. And you need to do exactly that. There is no other way to calm the customer down. Listen attentively. But with the objective to let the customer to vent out. The first goal here is to make him vent out. The steam needs to be released. Never move to the next step till the customer has completely vented.

Call center customer service training programs keep on focusing on this step. Let the customer vent out.


Communicate understanding

You are here to understand the customer. Tell the customer that. Irrespective of the outcomes, the call center expert is to understand. Let it be known that you are here to resolve and assist.

“Sir please explain the issues. I am here to listen, understand and provide a solution.”


Use empathy

Delivering the message is key. Be empathetic. Be in the customer shoes. All agents have to be considerate.


Reiterate the Issue

Nothing is better than the customer knowing that you understand the issue. The best way is for your to reiterate the scenario. For this the customer will understand and be appreciative. This is the most important part that many agents forget.


Stop Abusive Dialogue

Customer can get angry. In fact he can also be very demanding. And many of times he or she might become abusive. If that is the case, take charge.

“There is no need for harsh words Sir. We are here to facilitate. Our company does not permit foul language. I am more than willing to solve the issue. Please facilitate. Otherwise the phone connection will have to be disconnected.”

This is an excellent answer. The answer depends upon the policies. Each company policy is different.


Get Acknowledgement back

Also get acknowledgement back from the customer that you understood the issue. This helps in building customer trust. It also shows your level of understanding. Customer is more willing to get a solution from a person that he or she knows understands the issue.

This step is different from reiterating the issue. Here you will tell the customer that this is what you understood and please validate if this is correct. Nothing like getting a closure on being on the same page.



Once both parties agree on the situation, deliver an apology. It matters. And be realistic. Say it like you mean it. At this stage customer wants to know that the company cares. This is what matters.


Offer to Solve the issue

Advise the customer that you can deal with the issue. And a solution can come forward. However, do not state the solution yet. Customer needs to accept that you are willing to offer a solution. Make sure if that is what the customer is expecting. If so we can then move forward.


Be delighted to Help

At this stage, change the tone. And the pitch. You need to ensure that customer feels the vibe change. They need to know that there is nothing more than to serve them. Be energetic. And be grateful that you are getting opportunity to serve. This is a great step on how to handle an angry customer on the phone.


Provide the solution

Offer the solution. If there is not a particular thing you can do then offer the best mitigation. You can offer money back or something in return. Many of times the customer is fine with a similar solution. It might not be the right one from his point of view. But companies do have limitations. And you need to balance that one out.

Remember you should place several solutions to the customer. They need to know they have a choice when things do not work out.


Never put the customer on Hold

Irate customers do not want to be placed on hold. Special policies need to be established prior to when this happens. If not then customer gets more hyper. You need to know the policies prior. So that you can immediately rectify.


Honesty is the Best Policy

Some situations you can not offer anything. I hope that is never the case. But if it is then you need to be honest and state it firmly. Apologize. It is the reality.


These are proven techniques. Use them and build off of them. Love to hear from you. Please do share with us your experience!

How to handle an angry customer on the phone – 14 Proven Steps

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