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Types of Angry Customers and How Your Customer Service Representatives Should Handle Them

angry customer

Types of Angry Customers and How Your Customer Service Representatives Should Handle Them

Dealing with angry customers happens daily; it probably happens more often within a day than receiving praise for your company for an entire week.

These interactions consume the majority of your agent’s time at work, and as your company’s customer service is your business’s lifeline; they need to know how to handle angry customers. 

Angry customers are normal and should be regarded as sources of learning or points for improvement for the company rather than disruptive forces. However, there is no denying that angry customers leave a bad imprint on your business and your customer service representatives even on the phone.

This is why it is vital to equip your agents with proper training in dealing with angry customers on the phone, no matter what type of angry customer they are. 

What are the types of angry customers?

  • The Complainers
  • The Reasonables
  • The Quitters
  • The Abusers
  • The Threat Makers

Customer service representatives deal with customers with different personalities every day. They also deal with angry customers having different personality types.

Here are five of the most common angry customer personalities:

• The Complainers

These are callers with no legitimate concerns. These are types of customers who complain about anything, even the most minor complaints, and amplify it out of proportions. They regularly call just to let your representatives know how angry or dissatisfied they are with your service.

These customers are often convinced that your company does not care about their concerns, so they keep on finding something ‘wrong’ for your representatives to fix.  

• The Reasonables 

These are customers with actual and legitimate grievances with the company. They are the most important type amongst this list. These are customers whom you have failed to deliver the appropriate service to.

They’re opinions matter the most in the overall improvement of your company. Their complaints can vary from minute mistakes to blunders that require immediate action from your company. 

• The Quitters

Often, customers who call to cancel their service don’t mean to and they are usually testing if your company is dedicated enough to keep them.

They typically start by listing why they’re no longer interested or how your company has failed to meet their expectations. They will then leave the line open for your representatives to do or offer anything that’ll make them stay.

• The Abusers

Abusive customers are those customers who may or may not have valid concerns for calling your hotline; however, they are known for their high pitch voices and profane language. They are customers who tend to subject your representatives to insults. 

• The Threat Makers

These are customers who resort to emotional or physical intimidation instead of using verbal ones. They are convinced that there is nothing your representatives can do to solve their concerns, so they make threats to report them to their managers for bad customer service.

Often they are customers who demand to speak with the supervisor instead of working out the solution with your representatives.

Angry customers are like ticking time bombs; they won’t tell you that they are annoyed. 96% of customers won’t verbalize their annoyance, so you have to be able to identify them accordingly.

And as much as time bombs cause destruction, these customers can lead to your business’s fallout, so it is important to know how to defuse an angry customer. 

Types of Angry Customers Infographic

6 Helpful Tips For Diffusing An Angry Customer

  1. Listen
  2. Remain Calm
  3. Repeat Information
  4. Avoid The Hold Button
  5. Keep Them Happy
  6. Practice Self-Care

It is crucial to have proper tools and training in handling difficult or demanding customers to resolve an issue successfully. However, only 65% of companies are willing to provide these to their customer service department, even when 42% of service agents are unable to resolve concerns due to flawed systems.

The tips listed above, and discussed in the following section can help customer service representatives improve their approach in calming an angry customer and allow a more productive call.

1. Listen

In any situation, customer service representatives should listen to their customers with the utmost care and attention. More so if they are dealing with angry customers. According to NewVoiceMedia, 42% of customers are put off by rude customer service staff, so agents should start with a good impression by listening to their caller. 

One out of 26 angry customers complains while others churn without giving the company a chance to rectify or solve problems. Therefore, agents need to listen to their customers first before trying to defuse the situation and vent their frustrations or displeasure.

Letting them explain what the problems are and taking it as an opportunity to improve the business are the main courses of action for this situation. 

While listening, agents should take notes about their customers’ concerns. They should be patient with them, as some customers take time to explain what precisely the issues are at hand.

Agents should not interrupt, and if they have any questions, they have to wait for the customers to finish first before asking. They must encourage them to continue with brief verbal prompts and make them feel heard while reassuring that their concerns are valid.

These allow for the caller to be more agreeable because they were listened to. Here are some statements that the agent may opt to use:

  • “Please feel free to tell me anything you think is relevant.”
  • “I’ll let you explain the situation first, and then we’ll find you a solution.”
  • “Your issue is a cause for concern – let’s find out why this happened.”
  • “I can certainly understand why this is distressing.”

2. Remain Calm

When dealing with angry customers, they might not be careful with their language and manner. With this, customer service representatives need to keep in mind that their concerns are not directed towards them.

It’s nothing personal; they are more often displeased at the company, the situation they are in, or a specific service or product. Agents should not react emotionally and should keep a level tone when talking to the customers, even if they’re already yelling at them.

If agents also raise their voices, it will only aggravate their customers more, and this will cloud both their minds, making it harder to resolve the problem at hand. To keep control of the situation, they should start by keeping their voices within the normal conversational tone.

As a rule of thumb, customer service representatives should never argue with their customers. Arguing with them not only merit bad customer experience, but it can also lead to these customers churning.

According to Kolsky, 67% of consumers stop doing business with a company due to bad customer service. Agents have to treat customers as objectively as possible. The calmer agents are in dealing with their customers, the easier it is for them to find solutions to their customers’ concerns.

3. Repeat Information

Once agents have heard their customer’s concerns, they need to summarize the situation in their own words. Active listening is important in ensuring that they are on the same page with their customers.

Support agents can show them their understanding of the situation by keeping in mind these steps:

  • APOLOGIZE

Acknowledging their feelings and apologizing sincerely and immediately, then taking measures to solve the problem.

  • SYMPATHIZE

Sympathizing with the customer as if they are the ones experiencing the problem. 

  • ACCEPT

Taking responsibility for the situation.

  • PREPARE

Letting them know that you ready to help them in solving their concerns.

4. Avoid The Hold Button

It takes 11 minutes on hold for customers to hang up the call. This action doesn’t resolve their problem and makes them feel like they are not being taken seriously.

Angry customers believe that hold times allow representatives to talk rudely without being heard, or act like they’re doing something when they’re not.

Instead of putting them on hold, agents should tell them what they’re doing to find the cause of their problem or the steps they’re doing to solve them. 

5. Keep Them Happy

The best way to keep customers happy is to offer solutions to their problems. If the situation permits, agents should give them options in which they may be able to resolve their issue, making them feel like they are in control.

They have to guide them in the implementation of each option, and not being vague in their instructions. When offering solutions, agents need to make sure that they stay factual and avoid making promises they can’t keep. 

Once the problem is resolved, agents should always ask their customers if there is anything else they can help them with. Going the extra mile makes them feel more appreciated, which is important since feeling unappreciated is the #1 reason customers churn from a business.

If possible, and within the company policy, they can offer customers a refund or a voucher to alleviate their anger. This also shows how sorry they are with what happened and that the company appreciates doing business with them.

Finally, agents can thank them for taking the time to solve the problem together, making them feel like the company views their call as an opportunity to improve while reassuring them that the company will not let this happen again.

6. Practice Self-Care

When faced with an extremely abusive customer or a customer who refuses to calm down, agents should first try to politely interject them by saying things such as “Excuse me.” This is important for them to retake control of the situation.

Afterward, they can continue reassuring them that they can handle their problems. However, when all else fails, and they still refuse to listen to reason, agents can ultimately just hang up.

This is the final option for agents, and they need to make sure their reason for doing so is within the company policy when dealing with angry customers.

Lastly, agents can take time to unwind after an encounter with an angry customer. These calls can be emotionally draining for them, so it is important for them to rest once in a while. Agents need to take deep breaths and calm down as well, in preparation for the next customer. 

how to handle an angry customer infographic

Come Out to the Top

According to Walker, customer experience will overtake product and price as the key brand differentiator by 2020. This means companies who invest in excellent customer service will come out on top.

And superb service comes from customer service representatives who know how to handle any type of customer, even angry ones.

Empower your customer support team, hire the best customer service representatives in the Philippines!

Roland Francis Dacillo
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