Customer Experience News & Trends

23 of the best things to say to an angry customer

An upset customer has your ear, and now he expects you to respond. What you say (or write) will make or break the experience. Do you know what to do? 

It doesn’t matter your role in the customer experience. Whether you field calls and emails, market the products, make sales, deliver items, bill accounts or answer the door … you will likely hear from angry customers.

What you say next is vital because when customers are asked to rate their experiences, 70% of their opinion is based on how they feel they’re being treated, a McKinsey survey found.

Listen, then say …

The first step when dealing with an upset or angry customer: listen.

Let him vent. Take in — or better, take notes on — the facts.

Then acknowledge emotions, the situation or something that’s clearly important to the customer.

Any of these phrases — spoken or written — can help:

  1. I’m sorry for this trouble.
  2. Please tell me more about …
  3. I can understand why you’d be upset.
  4. This is important — to both you and me.
  5. Let me see if I have this right.
  6. Let’s work together to find a solution.
  7. Here’s what I’m going to do for you.
  8. What can we do to resolve this now?
  9. I want to take care of this for you immediately.
  10. Do you think this solution would work for you?
  11. What I’ll do right now is … Then I can …
  12. As an immediate solution, I’d like to suggest …
  13. You’ve come to the right place to get this resolved.
  14. What would you consider a fair and reasonable solution?
  15. OK, let’s get you in better shape.
  16. I’m more than happy to help you with this.
  17. If I can’t take care of this, I know who can.
  18. I hear what you’re saying, and I know how to help.
  19. You have a right to be upset.
  20. Sometimes we fail, and this time I’m here and ready to help.
  21. If I were in your shoes, I’d feel the same way.
  22. You’re right, and we need to do something about this immediately.
  23. Thank you … (for bringing this to my attention, being straight with me, for your patience with us, your loyalty to us even when things go wrong or your continued business).

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  • Good list. All of them sounds sincere and will definitely help. Now comes the difficult part: How to resolve the customer’s dilemma.

  • tonyc

    If you spent any amount of time on the road making calls on clients, you’ve had to be in this position at least once or twice. All the posted responsess are fine, but I would put additional emphasis on the “LISTEN” part of a one way conversation. Let them get it all out on the table. I often would repeat the critical parts of what the client is stating and scribble notes at the same time for 2 reasons. First by repeating and noting his issues, the client knows you’re listening, and second by repeating it, it would help me absorb what is being said. And sometimes you don’t have an answer. I would follow up with something like “I don’t know that answer, but lets dig into it and find some options as a solution”. Being honest to your client and yourself is the right thing to do.