How to Handle Irate Customers


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Customer service would be one of the most difficult positions in a company mainly because the majority of people miss the point of it. You see the definition of customer service is servicing customers. Normally, when a client calls your hotline or helpdesk, they want clarification on a matter that wasn’t clearly explained before purchase, or let you know that the product they bought is faulty, or find a way to solve their problem.

The majority of people call a helpdesk in the hopes of getting their problem resolved quickly. Having competent people at your helpdesk to solve these problems makes a huge difference in how well your customers are handled. Most people don’t like to complain and hope their issue will get solved promptly.

When you get aggressive customers, it is easy to become defensive. A great customer service officer will react with empathy to this situation and will investigate further with the customer of how things have escalated this far. While some people are aggressive thinking that their matter will be solve faster that way, others become aggressive as a result of a bad experience either from your company or another company’s hotline.

When dealing with a ‘difficult’ customer make sure you:

1. Stay calm and polite;

2. Take notes of what the complaint is about;

3. Actively listen to the customer by saying “yes", “I see", and “I understand".

4. When the customer has finished explaining his/herself, go through your notes with him/her to verify if you understood him/her correctly.

5. When both your customer and yourself have been through the notes, explain to him/her what is going to happen next and how your company goes about dealing with complaints. For example, you can tell him that this matter will be taken to the manager and issues are usually resolved in 24 hours.

6. Take responsibility. Follow up on the issue with whom ever you passed it on before the 24-hour deadline expires and make sure it has been resolved. If it hasn’t make a point to call your customer and let him/her know that it is taking a bit longer then expected but that you haven’t forgotten about his/her issue. That will keep the customer happy because he/she realises that his/her issue matters and that someone cares about getting it resolved. This customer will not only come back but will most likely refer other people to your business.

7. Alternately, if your business were lucky enough to have a good helpdesk software, these cases would be easier to follow up with. For example, the first level of response would take the call and type in the complaint. If the issue isn’t resolved within the normal deadline, it is escalated to the next level - a manager. This second level should be able to solve the complaint and get back to the customer is due time.

Basically, customer service should be perceived as an opportunity to go beyond your clients’ expectations and make sure that they are completely satisfied with your products and/or services. Make it a positive experience for everyone – your customers and your staff, by implementing processes that insure issues are resolved in a timely matter and that the details of each issues are readily available in a database that all your staff have access to.

Paul Smith is the manager of Auratech Software, a company that specialises in Help Desk Software to help businesses with their customer support. If you would like to read more articles on improving your support or would like to check out Auratech’s range of Help Desk Software, please visit:


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