#9. If a transfer is necessary, make it painless
- Inform the customer about the transfer.
- Provide details of/to the receiving agent.
- Ensure a warm handover.
If you need to transfer an angry customer to someone else on the team or in the company, make it a warm transfer. Tell the customer who will be helping them and how, and ask for permission to transfer the call. Make sure the receiving team member knows the customer’s name and is aware of the issue.
If technical issues require specialized support, clearly communicate why the transfer (and additional waiting time) is necessary. A smooth transition lets the customer know they’re not being abandoned and that they’ll soon be speaking with an expert. You can improve customer satisfaction by making transfers painless.
#10. Assure customers their feedback is helpful
- Note their feedback.
- Assure them you’re forwarding feedback to relevant teams.
- Make customers feel valued and involved.
Before ending or transferring the call, take a moment to let an angry customer know their feedback has been noted. Assure them you’ll forward the information to your superiors, and on to the relevant brand teams, so the customer experience (CX) can be improved and other customers can avoid similar frustrations.
This isn’t something many companies tell their customers, even if they do follow up on complaints internally. By letting your angry customers know they’re stakeholders in the brand, you’ll make them glad they called and leave a lasting impression.
If a customer provides feedback on a specific product feature, you can thank them for their input, assure them it will be shared with the product development team, and express your gratitude for helping improve your products. Let them know their input is integral to your brand’s growth.
#11. Practice active empathy
- Show understanding of the customer’s emotions.
- Avoid blaming or defensiveness.
- Use empathetic statements.
Aggression, accusatory language, and public confrontation are all common when interacting with an angry customer. But offer support and reassurance as much as possible to defuse tension. Even if the issue isn’t the fault of your company, steer clear of blaming the customer or becoming defensive. When you remove anger from the equation, it’s a customer on the other side who just wants a positive experience going forward. Use empathetic statements like “I understand how frustrating this must be for you” or “I can see why you’re feeling this way” to show that you’re validating their emotions.
If a customer is frustrated with a billing error, practice active empathy by maintaining a calm and respectful tone while saying, “I understand how frustrating it must be to see an incorrect charge on your bill. I’m here to help resolve this for you.”
#12. Set clear, respectful boundaries
- Clearly define what can and can’t be done.
- Avoid making unrealistic promises.
- Ensure the customer understands the brand’s policies.
Be transparent about what’s possible. In order to de-escalate the situation, an angry customer needs to know the extent you can actually assist them. Even when you need to communicate limitations or bad news, staying composed can build trust. Provide a brief, simple explanation for why you’re unable to fulfill their request. And avoid making promises that can’t be upheld. Unrealistic commitments can lead to further disappointment.
If necessary, provide references or resources to help the customer understand company policies. Learning more can help them recognize that boundaries are not arbitrary but part of established standards.
If a customer requests a significant discount that goes against company policy, you can set clear boundaries by saying, “I understand your request, but our policy does not allow for discounts of that size. However, I can offer you a 10% discount as a goodwill gesture.” Or offer alternate solutions. Only commit to actions that are within your control and within the company’s policies.
#13. Stay updated on product and service changes
- Regularly train and educate agents.
- Ensure awareness of current policies and procedures.
- Provide access to a knowledge base.
Agents hold the power to turn things around. Knowledge and authority are important skills in customer service. That’s why you should regularly train and educate your agents on product or service updates via workshops, webinars, etc.
Provide agent access to FAQs, manuals, and training docs for quick reference. When your team is up-to-date, they can answer angry customers more accurately and with confidence. Consistency in adhering to return policies, warranty information, and any other customer-related protocols is also essential for customer trust. What your agents say to an angry customer and how they convey information will make all the difference.
Take a proactive approach and keep agents updated on recent product changes. When an angry customer asks about a new feature, your agent can explain how it benefits the customer. They’ll appreciate when the agent anticipates their needs and can recommend relevant products or services.
#14. Offer a follow-up
- Follow up with a thank-you email or courtesy call.
- Ask for feedback on their experience.
- Show that you care about their long-term satisfaction.
Once the customer’s issue has been resolved, it’s important to follow up promptly! As unpleasant as the things an angry customer says are, a path to happiness remains. If they didn’t care, the customer wouldn’t bother reaching out at all. After their complaint, acknowledge the importance of their business and express gratitude for allowing you to assist them. Saving the relationship with a customer depends on effective communication.
A thank-you email or courtesy call demonstrates that your team cares about the customer’s experience. It also gives the customer the opportunity to voice any additional concerns or feedback. Invite them to share their thoughts on what went well and where there might be room for improvement. You’ll open the door for ongoing interaction and relationship-building.
If you send a replacement product to resolve a late delivery, follow up with an email thanking the customer for their patience. Ask if they received the replacement product on time.
#15. Learn and iterate
- Encourage continuous learning.
- Collect feedback from your agents.
- Incorporate customer feedback.
Getting blasted by an angry customer magnifies stress significantly, and even the most calm, cool, and collected agents may buckle. To set them up for success, encourage continuous learning among your customer service team. Agents who aren’t prepared to handle angry customers just hope to survive in the moment as saving the relationship seems like a lost cause. You can avoid agent burnout by collecting feedback from them on what strategies work best with angry customers. You can also apply valuable insights from customer feedback to improve your customer service process.
If your customer service team notices an increase in angry customer interactions, you can identify a root cause. It may be related to a new software update and customers are finding it challenging to adapt. Roll out training sessions for agents specifically designed to address the software changes. Knowing common user challenges helps agents calm angry customers effectively.
Learn How to Respond to an Angry Customer Easily
Angry customers will tell you how they really feel, and yet all hope is not lost to retain them as long as your agents on the front lines remain composed. It’ll take some tweaking to your training and coaching, but soon enough agents will feel equipped to brush off harsh comments from a customer and flip anger to joy with a balanced approach to providing service.