Skip Nav

Dealing with Aggressive or Difficult Customers

AGGRESSIVE CUSTOMERS CARE TACTICS

❶Stay calm and polite, don't even think of using any offensive words, but try to seem interested in customer's issue as your politeness may be judged as a common reaction. Also, refrain from smiling as it may come across that you are laughing or making fun of the customer.

Developing People Insights

Control your body language
Business crime prevention advice: Dealing with aggressive and offensive customers
Keep calm and carry on

Customers who become aggressive or abusive are generally not angry with you personally, but are angry at the lack of perceived customer service from your business, or that the sold product has not met their requirements. Customers who make a complaint often put forward their point of view with a prepared speech. Give them the opportunity to make their statement without interruption. This will allow them to vent their anger. Interrupting them or trying to defend your position may provoke the person to become more abusive or aggressive.

The customer will be more approachable to engage in conversation once their initial anger has passed. Try to remain calm, polite and attentive, regardless of the customer's anger. Displaying appropriate behaviour to an aggressive person may influence them to calm down and behave normally. Deal with the customer's concerns objectively, and you will find the aggression is likely to decrease.

Skip to main content. Business crime prevention advice: Dealing with aggressive and offensive customers Business crime prevention advice: Dealing with aggressive and offensive customers. If your attempts to neutralise the situation fail, follow these important rules: Ask the person not to be aggressive or abusive. If your request is ignored, politely but firmly ask the person to leave the store.

If the person refuses to leave the store, call and ask for Police. If you are alone in the store, stay in public view. If you are sworn at or exposed to personal attacks on your character, resist the urge to retaliate with abuse or use phrases like "potty mouth" or "didn't your parents teach you any manners. Ask the abusive customer to calm down in a respectful manner and explain that you're there to help.

Tell them it's going to be more difficult to resolve the issue while tempers are flared and that you're more likely to be able to address any concerns if any discussion is conducted in a civilized fashion. Tell your abusive customer that you can understand their frustration and that you would be upset if you were in their position -- if they have a valid complaint. If you feel that their complaint is spurious, empathy will not be necessary.

Be honest about what you can do. If you're unsure about how to deal with the complaint, don't try to bluff your way through the situation. This will only serve to enrage your customer further and could end up getting you into trouble further down the line, either with your boss or legally.

Explain that you're unsure of how to deal with the situation and find out from your superiors, colleagues or a lawyer where you stand. If a customer is complaining about an issue that's covered in any contract you have with them, respectfully refer the customer to the clause that supports your position.

Then, politely explain that it was their responsibility to review the terms and conditions of your relationship before entering into any agreement. If it becomes clear that you are unable to deal with an abusive customer effectively, don't be afraid of passing the problem on to your manager or a colleague who is more experienced at negotiating with angry clients.

Explain again that you are there to help, but warn them that you will terminate the call if you're on the phone or call security or the police if you're discussing the situation in person. Don't try to talk over or interrupt your abusive customer when they are in mid-flow. This is only likely to make the customer angrier. Let them finish what they are saying. If this involves a long, drawn-out rant, so be it. Remain silent for a few seconds after they have run out of things to say and then state your position.

If the customer interrupts, tell them that you have listened carefully and would be grateful if they could extend you the same courtesy. If the discussion is going nowhere, state your position firmly but politely and advise your customer to make a complaint to any trade body or ombudsman who regulates your industry if she won't accept your decision.

If all else fails and you're unable to get through to your abusive customer, end the discussion.

Search form

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Do not allow the customer’s anger to provoke you. 7. If you have time (e.g. between taking and returning a call), there is a valuable exercise that is useful in all sorts of conflict .

Privacy FAQs

Assertive customers are often mistaken for aggressive customers. Assertive customers are direct, but generally much calmer when asking for something. They like quick resolution and direct answers and will not spend a lot of time chatting, but they are not apt to be rude or obnoxious.

About Our Ads

The other highly aggressive customer we'll call "type 2". This individual achieves her aggressive drive from a high level of dominance and a competitive nature. Controlling everything and everyone within her field of vision is important. Dealing with aggressive customers or difficult people at large is truly the master art of great communication. Understanding, repeating and conveying back are all parts of effective communication and leads to lesser stress and an elevated level of confidence.

Cookie Info

Dealing with an aggressive customer requires you to think on your feet. Not only must you stay calm, avoid arguing, and listen, but you must try to find a solution to whatever problem your customer has. Customers who become aggressive or abusive are generally not angry with you personally, but are angry at the lack of perceived customer service from your business, or that the sold product has not met their requirements.