(Closed) Responding to angry customers is hard *rant*

posted 6 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
16195 posts
Honey Beekeeper

I don’t have much to share from my own experience, but I just have to say that I totally feel for everyone in the customer service field. I don’t know how you put up with that negativity day in and day out. My only experience was a bit of time in retail customer service during college, and even that made me much more cognizant of how I handle those interactions from the customer side. 🙂

Post # 5
46595 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

If I ever phone a business with a complaint, I have two expectations:

– make it right if it can be fixed  e.g sent wrong product

– pass on the message to the appropriate people or department if it can’t be made right


The goal of customer service should not just be to deal with the issue at hand but to prevent these things from occuring again. If your company does not have a closed loop wherein feedback from the complaints are routed to the approriate departments, I would make that suggestion yourself. All companies should be tracking and taking action on that type of data.

Post # 6
2781 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

When I have an issue with a service or product I purchased; I expect it to be made right. Whether that’s a refund, an exchange or something free.

My Future Mother-In-Law recently had a flooring company in to install new flooring in her kitchen, they made the horrendous mistake of pulling up the carpet and installing the new hardwood flooring in the living room. 

Future Mother-In-Law gave the company a choice, either install new carpeting in the living room and diniing room (their not really separate) and install the hardwood flooring where it was supposed to be put, at their expense, or finish installing the hardwood in the dining room and still install it where they were supposed to, the kitchen. 

Post # 7
1715 posts
Bumble bee

I was a subversive CSR.

The always escalated the calls to me, I have this awesome ability to make people listen apparently. My boss used to tell me I had the “in the grand scheme of things” voice, as in “Well in the grand sceme, this is just a little thing but we can fix it for you”

But really, I was just imagining how I would explain something to a 5 year old. And once, I actually did explain to to a 5 year old how to set up her mother’s blackberry.

I did enjoy that job. 

Post # 8
1715 posts
Bumble bee

But really, you need to make yourself the “go to” person. Learn everything you can about the ins and outs of your system. when you do that, you’ll have the ability to “give a 5 year old candy”. Basically, fix the problem and offer a “reward”. Even if it’s a coupon code, a little something makes people happy and feel like they didn’t go to all that trouble for nothing.

Post # 9
2840 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

My department just had to go through customer service training.  Our boss gave us a laminated list of how to handle disgruntled customers.  Paraphrased:

  1. Hear them out (no interrupting)
  2. Thank them for sharing with us (yeah, you read that right… “Thanks for yelling at me.. er..  I’m still working on it)
  3. Repeat what they shared and ask if we clearly understand
  4. Offer a solution
  5. if rejected, help find alternatives
  6. If alternatives are not possible or not accepted, then we are told to escalate to management at this point.

But more than anything, I think number 2 is about validating the person’s emotion – they may not be right to be that angry – but it doesn’t make it less true that they are experiencing that anger.  So I stick with, “I understand your frustration.” I turned “thanking them” – which out of my mouth would sound patronizing – to my best attempt at empathy.

Post # 10
4272 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

This is going to be a long response, sorry.

You know…. I have just learned to apologize and smile. That is just the best you can do. I don’t do all of my customer service over the phone, but I have dealt with it a lot in person. I have been called names, had fingers pointed in my face and seen people at their worst. I don’t get it as much in the field I am working now, but it does happen. You can’t please everyone….

I don’t take it personally, for one it is usually not my fault they are angry and second, I have been an angry customer….so I know what it likes to just want to take your frustration out on the first person you talk to. Recently, I took my car in for repairs, I was there for 4 hours while they were just doing their inspection. (Keep in my mind that I am pregnant and emotional). They give me a quote that was just insane. $900 for a timing belt? Are you serious??? $800 for a water pump??? I turned into a total bitch at that point and told them no way, give me my keys. and then when I get home the car is leaking like crazy. Looked at the engine and nothing was properly tightened and secured properly.

I ended up calling them and got the sweet cashier. I went ballistic on her, I mean I was just a crazy person. She called back and said they would replace the cap for the radiator for free. I yelled at her some more and said forget it, that cap is only $5, I will do it myself! BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH!. The poor girl did not know what to say, said sorry and then I hung up on her.

So yeah, sometimes you don’t want anything for free. Nothing will make it better. You just want to bitch. Those people make you feel the worst then then the ones that are just trying to get a service for free or work the system….

Post # 11
5956 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2018

Oh boy, I hear you….I get phone calls from angry people across the country who want what they want and they want it now!  But that’s not how insurance works, there’s a process and people have to go through that process, it’s just how it works…so I get calls from people threatening to sue me, to come to our office building, to report us to the BBB, they tell me I don’t understand, that I’m a terrible person and I should go to hell….you kind of get numb to it, and understand that it’s just part of the game.

I find that reminding them that I’m here to help them is a good start, telling them exactly what’s going happen and when is also calming, assuring them that they can call me at any time with questions helps a lot and if they say the “lawyer” word, our conversation is over…they usually redact it at that point, because they don’t have a lawyer and just wanted to scare me a little…which doesn’t work, at all.

And sometimes, people just really want to feel like someone is listening to them, I’ve spent an hour on the phone with someone who was involved in a car accident, but her mother was in the hospital, so she was just going to get it over with a cry on the phone with me, and I sat there and listened to her, was she upset about the accident?  Sure she was, but she was more upset about her mom, so we talked about it, I made her feel listened to, heard and even got a few laughs out of her…

When she finally came back to Earth she was mortified and kept apologizing to me, I finally told her, “Look, sometimes life puts certain people in our path for a reason, and today, I’m in yours, and if you need to freak out on the phone with me today, that’s just what we’re going to do, because if it was my daughter or sister or mother, I’d want someone to do the same. So quit apologizing, it’s what we’re doing today.”

And since I was such a nice person, I ended up getting buckets of referalls from her, she told everyone I was one of the nicest, funniest people she’d ever talked to…so it all works out, sometimes people just gotta blow their stack…

Post # 12
412 posts
Helper bee

@howtobeawife:  a spin might be “thanks for making us aware of the situation” or “thanks for bringing the problem to our attention” – if you validate that it is a problem, it implies that it’s something the company wants to fix, and sets the stage for a positive interaction. of course, some people are just batshit crazy in which case just stick to “i’m sorry you’re frustrated, let’s see what i can do”

Post # 13
286 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Haha Im a teller manager at a bank…. I think its safe to say I know how you feel! lol Some people get so beligerant and more often than not it was something THEY did, not us! I just smile and nod until they get it off their chest. I long ago came to the conclusion that people are psycho… lol

Post # 14
658 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

Luckily I don’t deal with customers in my current job, but I have in the past. Usually I’d just listen and make sure I didn’t sound condescening when I responded – that will make an already angry person enraged!

Post # 15
519 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I worked the customer service desk at Kmart one summer when I was in college. It’s completely ridiculous how rude, annoying, and stupid customers could be. I had customers try to bring back items that they had purchased at Sears or Lands End and they thought because Sears Holding owns them and Kmart, that they could just return it at a Kmart. I could not get them to understand that we couldn’t give them a refund because we did not SELL those items. Oh! Or the man that brought in an expired ad from another store and couldn’t understand why he couldn’t get an item for the price that it was advertised for. 

Even if they cussed me out, I just always smiled and told them to have a great day. I don’t miss that job one bit. =)

Post # 16
7437 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

Customer service is torture. I should know, I’ve been doing it for 6 years -__-

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