Rude customers – How to deal with them and deliver great service!

If you work in an industry that means you encounter customers on the daily, you’ve most likely dealt with ‘rude customers’. It seems that no matter what you try to say or do to diffuse the situation, some people are hard to calm down.

When people call your customer service line, they’re almost always calling with an issue that needs resolving. If this issue has inconvenienced the caller they’ll often be frustrated, pair this with time waiting on hold and it can result in an unreasonable customer.

It’s important to note that unhappy customers are different from rude customers. Things can go wrong and an unhappy customer is entitled to express their disappointment, they’ll normally remain reasonable and calm enough for you to help resolve their issue.

Rude customers are a different story, they have often made their mind up about how angry they’re going to be before you encounter them. They’re often unreasonable and resort to shouting, verbal abuse and strong language. This behaviour can often be shocking and upsetting and it can be hard to know how to react.

So what can you do to keep yourself calm, and deliver the great customer service that’s expected of you?

Stay Calm

It can be really easy to go with your natural instinct to be defensive and bite back but be wary that this can cause the situation to escalate very quickly. Try taking deep breaths before responding to the customer and adopt a polite but firm tone, this will help you remain in control of the interaction. If at any point the customer makes you feel unsafe or is threatening you, ask your manager or supervisor to assist you in diffusing the situation. Angry customers will often calm down and become more reasonable once they realise someone has your back.


Often, customers are so frustrated that they just want someone to listen to them rant. Wait until the customer has finished talking before you interject as talking over them can inflame the situation further. Listen actively, take notes if you need to and make sure that they know you have listened by relaying information back to them.
It can be exceptionally hard to apologise to the customer, especially if they’ve been abusive but often a bit of empathy and an apology can go a long way in diffusing the interaction.

Don’t take it to heart

It’s important to remember that although the customer’s attacks can feel directed at you, in reality, you’re just the unlucky one who’s in the firing line. It’s almost guaranteed that the customer was angry and frustrated before they had their interaction with you! It can be difficult to not let your emotions take over the situation, this is where emotional intelligence plays an important part, it helps you keep your emotions in check whilst staying mindful of other people’s emotions.

“Taking time away from the phone after the call has ended can help you remove yourself from the situation and calm down. Try not to dwell on it too much as it can keep you in that negative state and have a bad effect on your productivity for the rest of the day!” – Call Handler, alldayPA

Provide a solution

The best way to make a customer happy is to provide a solution to their issue. Tackling their problem in an effective and polite manner will help limit the stress to yourself and hopefully keep the customer calm and reasonable. Most of the time, customers just want a fast resolution to their problem but it’s important to manage expectations. Ask them what they believe is a fair way to resolve the issue and then work on reaching an agreement that satisfies both parties!

If you’d rather leave the hassle of dealing with rude customers to someone else, outsourcing your customer service to a call answering provider allows you to let experienced call handlers take the stress away from yourself!