How to Handle Angry Clients or Customers

No matter what business you’re in, if you sell something (whether a product or a service), one day you’ll deal with an angry customer. Its best to plan ahead how you’ll respond so you don’t have to figure it out on the fly.

  • Fire Abusive Customers: This may not sound that positive on the surface but the truth is, sometimes you have to fire a customer to keep the peace for your business.
  • Take a Breath: Sometimes its hard not to allow emotions to get the best of us. But, business is not supposed to be emotional. Yes, of course it really is, but if you think about it from the consumer’s perspective, they are feeling cheated in some way and it’s your job to not take it personally and figure out what you can do to make it better and prevent this from happening in the future. So, take a breath and deal with it by the numbers, not the emotions.
  • Ask: Is It Worth a Response? Sometimes angry people put nasty things on social media. You have to decide each time whether it is worth responding, and whether you can do so in a positive way. Do not respond in a passive-aggressive way, but a truly positive, putting the customer first, way. If you can’t, then don’t respond to it. If you think it’s abusive, and you have the power, delete the comment without any response.
  • Respond Fast: Letting an angry customer fester is a big mistake. You want to take a breath, count to ten, and then deal with it. If you have a process in place, it’s going to make life much easier. One good way to deal with problem customers is to fix the problem if possible. If you can’t, give a refund, but whatever you do respond fast.
  • Be Human: It’s tempting with all the systems in place, and the processes you likely use, to be kind of like a robot. But, this is not going to serve anyone. Instead, you need to really listen to what your customer is saying, and then pick the good parts that you can fix to respond to. Leave the rest for later if it should come up again.
  • Listen: Even the maddest customers will tell you exactly how you can help them and make it better. If it’s a refund, that’s fine, figure it out. If it’s something else, that’s great. Listen, repeat back to the customer what you’ve heard them saying, and then do what you can to satisfy what they are asking for.

Dealing with angry customers is not fun, especially today with the public nature of customer service on social media. But, it’s going to happen. Eventually, you will have a customer who is angry. Deal with it head on in the most positive way that you can muster. Then move on to make someone else happy.

Darren Slaughter is the founder and president of, a digital agency focusing on website design, social media management, and content creation for home improvement contractors.