How to Handle Angry Callers


Everyone who works in customer service has had to deal with some pretty upset people. Knowing how to handle angry callers appropriately will help you diffuse the situation and keep your sanity.

Image of a woman on the phone as an angry caller

If you have a job that requires you to provide customer service, then you probably know how horrible it can be to deal with someone who is angry. It can be even worse with an angry caller rather than an in person encounter, because they have less holding them back from unleashing their wrath. Whether you have to deal with livid callers only once in a while or most days, it’s not fun. However, knowing how to best handle angry callers will not only de-escalate the mood, but will also help reach a solution and keep you from going nuts.

Here are five things to remember when you’ve got an angry caller on the line…

It’s nothing personal

The first thing you need to do is remember that the caller is not angry at you. They are frustrated with their problem, so don’t take it personally. It can certainly feel personal sometimes though as they may verbally attack you specifically. It’s tough, but keep in mind that they don’t know you. You just happen to be the most convenient target for their anger. And don’t give them a reason to actually be mad at you. Don’t get an attitude or be rude back to them. Make sure all the drama stays on their end of the line.

Stay calm

If you get worked up too then that will only escalate the situation. Keep your chill and don’t let them fluster you. You know your companies policies, you know what you can or can’t do to help, and you’ve got nothing to worry about as long as you remain calm.

Let them vent

Sometimes an angry caller just needs to get it all out as they air their grievances. They need to tell someone all about their frustrations and that lucky someone is you. Now, keep in mind that there is a line somewhere. If a person is relentlessly verbally abusing you and they refuse to come down from Mount Rage, then you don’t have to put up with their attacks. Your company should have some kind of guidelines laid out that allow you to excuse yourself from the call.

Be sympathetic

Just put yourself in their shoes as well as you can. Imagine what it’s like to be experiencing their frustration. Let them know that you understand why they are upset and that you are going to do everything you can to help resolve the situation. If an angry caller gets the vibe that you really are on their side, then they are going to have a hard time staying mad. They will begin to transition into a rational, productive, conversational mode that allows the two of you to start working towards a solution.

Follow up

Phew! Congrats. You made it through the entire encounter with that super angry caller. Now what? Well, you better do what you said you’d do to help or else that person is just going to call back later angrier than the last time. Do whatever you can do to ensure that there is a suitable resolution as quickly as possible. But don’t just make sure their issue is taken care of because you don’t want to get yelled at again. Do it because that’s how good customer service works. Do it because you’re awesome at what you do. Do it because even though you probably won’t receive a thank you card in the mail from them, you like to think that a customer service agent somewhere out there will have your back when you call with a problem.

Well, there we have it. This has been five things laid out to help you know how to handle angry callers. Dealing with upset people could very well be the worst part of a job in customer service. But hang in there and remember it’s not you they are mad at. Stay calm, sympathetic, and helpful and you’ll come out of each call with an agitated person as the champ.

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