Angry Customers

United States
November 6, 2006 7:17pm CST
What is your strategy for dealing with angry customers? I am talking the type of people you could bend over backwards for and they would still not be happy, or the type that have their mind made up that they are smarter than you before you even open your mouth. I work in a doctor's office where I have to deal with this all day long, both in person and on the phone. I don't really need suggestions, more than anything I am just curious to see how other people react to such situations!
2 people like this
15 responses
• United States
7 Nov 06
I am polite to a point and then I just shut down. If I can't solve your problem with my suggestions then I am not sure what I can do. So then I just ask "what would you like me to do for you?" Then I let them answer the question for me and we can go from there.
• United States
7 Nov 06
Sometimes that is all you can do!
@rosey3223 (1569)
• United States
7 Nov 06
I am usually working in the fast food area--taking a break right now--and let me tell you, there are a lot of rude and mean customers that come through there. It is as if they think that they are better than you because heaven forbid fast food is the lowest job you could have and you must not be too smart if you work there. And I got SICK of it. I understand if your order was totally messed up or if we forgot to get you ketchup...I am usually very apologetic for that. But when you walk up to me and just look at and talk to me as if I was completely stupid and a low life...well then you and I are gonna have issues. I have made comments to the rude ones, I am sorry but there are times when enough is enough. But the cool thing that I have found myself doing is that I can do it with a smile!! And I am not sure if anyone is aware of this, but a manager can make some big bucks doing that line of work!! I knew of an area manager that was making over $100,000/year. To me, that tells me that even though you might look down on those who work in fast food, we are the ones reaping the benefits because you are buying the friggin food. And those of you who do exactly what I stated is not cool...ya know, treating us like crap, you might want to stop because we are the ones making your food!!!
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Nov 06
Thank you for your response! I have worked in fast food and also as a waitress, so I definitely understand what you are talking about. I am always very appreciative of people in this line of work. In fact, I have actually emailed the corporate office of some fast food chains when I feel like someone has been exceptionally friendly or helpful. I can't imagine it's easy to keep a smile on your face when you are running a drive through all day... I like to make sure people get credit for doing a good job!
@rosey3223 (1569)
• United States
8 Nov 06
That's cool! It is awesome to see people that actually acknowledge the hard work that is put into the restaurant business. But man...when you get those ones that yell at you just for not getting you a straw or friggin ketchup, those are the ones that you want to shove their fries down their throats!!! LoL!!!
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Dec 06
I agree! Here is a + and a Best Response. Thanks so much for your contributions to this discussion!
@sunsham68 (1378)
• India
29 Jan 07
I try being polite and courteous but at one point I just give them a patronising comment and it usually asserts that I am not totally at their mercy and they have to stop. I was once at the tele-customer service department of a paging company and this guy called with a complaint and when I asked him for his number and details, he refused saying that he had already given it earlier to someone and would not, and wasted a few words there, I quietly pointed out, you said so much now, if you had to give me your number, it would have actually saved you some words..he stopped right there and complied! I have a soft voice so people don't take me as angry even when I say stuff like that, and I use that to my benefit!
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jan 07
I am with you there--I cannot stand for someone to think they are better or smarter than me, just because I happen to be in a position of service. If a person goes too far, I usually can't stop myself from saying or doing something to knock them down from that high horse.
@sunsham68 (1378)
• India
31 Jan 07
totally with you. I only wish more people would not accept nonsense like that. At the end of the day we are all working for the same reason - to get our paycheck, no one is better than anyone for whatever stupid reason they believe, and if they don't know it, I sure won't miss the chance to enlighten them!
1 person likes this
@amber8942 (110)
• United States
7 Nov 06
omg! i once had this customer who was yelling at me cause we didnt have any of the new relases....i worked at blockbuster....and the new movies go out on tuesdays....and it was a tuseday and it was like 6 soo we were all out.....so hes standing there yelling at me while im ckecking someone out...and i was like sir im sorry we dont have any of them but you dont have to yell at me...and then this older lady comes up to him and was like if you want the movies you shouldnt of came so late....as now hes still yelling at me but hes walking to his son...well i called my manager up and then he took over....i worked the next day and i was telling my store manager about what had happend and the older lady comes in and was like i was scared for this young lady you had here all by herself i thought he was going to stab her! the guy was hella freaky too! i would have to say....just try to stay calm!
• United States
7 Nov 06
Ron Jon Sticker - Ron Jon Sticker
That is really scary! I worked in a gas station when I was a teenager, and one time a woman tried to drag me across the counter... it was funny afterwards, but I was a little frightened at the time!
• United States
7 Nov 06
...I don't know why it keeps putting that picture on there without me uploading it!!
@babyhar (1339)
• Canada
28 Jan 07
Well, since you don't need advice on how to handle this sort of behavior, I'll just let you know the situations I've been through and how I've dealt with angry or unhappy customers. In my previous experience, dealing with angry or unhappy customers is not always the most fun thing to look forward to when working at a job, but it's a reality of life and something that has to be dealt with. Not every customer can be full of sunshine and rainbows anyways right? In my previous job I worked in customer service for a clothing store. Every once and a while I would have to encounter a really angry customer. Usually they couldn't find what they were looking for at the store I was working at. If they brought it to my attention, I would try my hardest to make sure they at least left the store knowing I did all I could to help them. There were times where they would come in looking for a certain shirt or pair of pants and when we did not have the right size in stock or even if we didn't have the right style...I would tell them I would try other stores to see if they had what they were looking for. Most of the time I would be able to locate something they were looking to get and I would send them to the other store. There were the odd customer though that no matter what you did it made no difference. You could search all those other stores and even if they had what they were looking for, sometimes the customer would still end up leaving unhappy. It's hard to deal with when you know you can't make a customer feel happy with their shopping experience. I know I've been there too when I've gone into a store and looked for something. Sometimes I find what I'm looking for and if I don't I always try to ask. It's only when I feel I'm not getting the right type of service that I get frustrated and begin to get a little angry. I applied that to when I was working in the customer service field. How would I like to be treated as a customer? So, in conclusion, I'd like to believe I have a pretty good strategy when dealing with angry or unhappy customers. I just know I have to try my hardest to make them happy. At the end of the day sometimes all you do might not be enough for them. All you can do is keep in mind that you tried your hardest and did all you could to help them and if that isn't enough...there's not much else you can do. If all else fails...kill them with kindness!
• United States
29 Jan 07
You are absolutely right. Working in customer service, it is part of your job to do whatever you are able (within reason, of course) to make your customers happy. Key word here is "able". If you have done everything you possibly can to help someone, and they are still unhappy, chances are they were already set on being unhappy... and you, unfortunately, have just fallen into the position of scapegoat.
@kesfylstra (1870)
• United States
7 Nov 06
Keep the anger inside and get them out the door. Or, when in doubt, get a supervisor and take the pressure off of yourself. That was always my way out.
• United States
7 Nov 06
Yes, I like it when I can pass these people off to my manager!!
@fubugirl (915)
• United States
7 Nov 06
I am jsut polite to them. If we are out of something I jsut say I am sorry.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Nov 06
I do that as well, but sometimes I just run out of patience!!
@anup12 (4182)
• India
31 Jan 07
Yes I think everybody in this world has to deal with angry customers sometimes or the other and the way out is just be polite for sometime and then just pass it on to your supervisor to act on that.
• United States
31 Jan 07
I always instructed my employees to repeat things back to the customer so they get the feeling you are listening to them for instance if the customer is complaining about not being able to talk to the doctor right then I would say "I understand your frustration, and that you need to talk to the doctor would it be helpful if he called you back by the end of the day." Instead of saying "He can't talk right now I can take a message" It sounds so crazy but for some reason people really calm down when they know you are really listening to them and not just giving them the a cookie cutter answer. I have years of experience managing under my belt, and this is truly the best way I have found to deal with angry customers. Of course once a person crosses the line with vulgar language or threats it is time to stop the conversation or ask them to leave.
@kerbausama (1338)
• Malaysia
30 Jan 07
just let he calm and release all the pai in his a.s .then speak loudly to explain to show we are good and not the coward! ...
• United States
30 Jan 07
Sometimes you really can't deal with angry customers. Most of them make up their mind way before they enter a location about what they want done and how it's supposed to be done, and they make it clear, or don't about the entire situation. I think you can only do what you feel is right.
• Philippines
30 Jan 07
I can relate to your experience, I used to work as a customer service and I have encountered lots of difficult customers. Dealing with agnry customers is practically unavoidable. They say that in customer service, "LIFE IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES, YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GONNA GET." There are different strategies to different cusomers depending on their concern. few things should be considered: courtesy & respect, empathy - when customers are angry, upset or nervous or even frustrated, expressing empathy can make them feel better. Redirect the customers attention toward finding a solution to their concern.
@baysmummy (1639)
• Australia
29 Jan 07
Normally i just bite my tongue and be nice as i possibly can, I find most times when you continue to be nice to them like real suck up nice it really annoys them and they usually give up! Or if i am pushed to far i just say, it is obvious you arent going to listen to me, Unless you are going to speak to me nice and show the same respect for me as i am for you then this conversation is over, Or if you would like to hang on a minute i can get my manager/boss.
• Nigeria
29 Jan 07
i have customers like that too.i have to bear with them and i try to mke them happy by smiling to them.you also have to be tolerant
@pusiket (1759)
• Philippines
29 Jan 07
Just give in to their requests without compromising your products, services and people.