How To Respond To Angry Customers

May 19, 2016

If you believe an angry customer’s bark is worse than their bite, you haven’t seen how negative online reviews can continue to bite you for years to come.

Learning how to handle angry customers is a necessity in the age of burgeoning online reviews and social media platforms. Here are five tips to help you tame the roar of a frustrated customer.

No. 1: Know How To Listen

Did you hear that? Respond to complaints by including details that will ensure your customer feels heard. A generic cut-and-pasted reply often can seem dismissive and patronizing, which only deepens a customer’s frustration. Additionally, staying tuned in can pay off by showing you room for improvements with your product or service.

No. 2: Know Your Space

Don’t exit stage right. If customers contact you on social media or by writing a review online, that’s where they want a response. Know how to ask the right questions so you can formulate a well-informed response to your customer’s complaint. Doing so streamlines the customer service process while also creating a repository of problem-solving information for others.

No. 3: Know When to Redirect

Time to switch gears. Phone calls, emails or face-to-face chats are indispensable when resolving some complaints. Choose these when a customer needs a more involved approach or complex step-by-step help. Redirection is also best when asking for personal information like a shipping or email address. On the original complaint thread, share that you’d like to move the conversation elsewhere and then initiate contact to ease the transition.

No. 4: Know When to Reach

Go the extra mile. Responding with a calm, helpful and solution-oriented demeanor will calm most irate customers, but going the extra step can transform an angry customer into a brand advocate. Sometimes this means offering a discounted rate or a free product. Other times, it means proactively meeting the desires of a customer, like the restaurant Morton’s did.

No. 5: Know When to Settle

Cut your losses. Some customers don’t want help—they want to vent with the benefit of online anonymity. It’s time to throw in the towel if a customer grows increasingly abusive or unresponsive, or remains unsatisfied after numerous attempts at a resolution. The decision to cut ties or block a user on social media should not, however, be made in isolation. Involving management and customer service team leaders will ensure any decision comes from a non-defensive, level-headed spot.

Providing excellent customer service online is a necessity. Not only does it protect word-of-mouth marketing online and offline, it holds the remarkable power to transform roaring customers into delighted brand advocates. If you’re being swallowed in the negativity of social media and online reviews, let our Fresh team help. Contact us today at


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Fresh Creative is a full-service digital marketing agency serving international, national, and local clients. Local areas include Lebanon, Hershey, Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Lititz and Reading, Pennsylvania.