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How To Diffuse An Upset Customer

What you can do to make an upset individual feel like a part of the solution.

Everyone Has Been There

Whether it’s from an unexpected cold call or too many emails, eventually someone will be upset by your attempts to just do your job. You know how this usually goes; the customer will call you to tell you how rude and invasive you are, you’ll apologize, they won’t care, they’ll say something along the lines of “well, you just lost a customer,” and you’ll apologize again before they hang up and you lose them forever.

It sucks, and at the end of the day nobody, not even the greatest salesperson on earth, can change the customer’s mind when they’re upset. But that being said, with the right sales coaching from us, maybe you can.

Let's Start With The Phone Call

You have to step back and recognize that this person, however irrational it may seem to you, is genuinely upset. That person needs to feel heard. Ditch the script for a minute and just listen. Tell them you’re sorry and mean it.

Remember they’re a human and their feelings are valid.

Be patient, don’t interrupt them. Speak softly.

Don’t blame it on “something above your pay-grade," you need to own the problem.

Remember that they’re seeking resolution, it’s your job to give it to them.

Thank them for calling you. Reiterate that you’re sorry this was a problem, but you’re glad you were able to take note of it for the future. Let them know they were a part of solving the issue.

Then let them go. Like any other person, the customer needs time to process your conversation. They’re likely still upset about the initial problem, but hopefully you were able to diffuse a bit of their frustration.

In Donald Miller’s Building a Story Brand, the author talks about how important it is to make the customer feel like they’re the hero. They should feel like they’re the ones making the decisions and that they’re the ones solving their own problems. It’s up to you to make them feel that way.

Reach Out In A Week Or Two

Thank them again for reaching out. Fill them in on what’s been done to prevent the same issue from happening again. Make them feel like a part of the solution. If you can, offer them something to help rebuilt the bridge they tried to burn.

Nobody likes listening to an upset customer rant, but it’s a part of the job. You have the skills and the tools at your disposal to make them feel heard and appreciated, so go on, get after it!


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