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Chinekwu Nwosu-Igbo: Managing Your Anger When You Have to Deal with Customers

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dreamstime_l_10297066Anger is a powerful force, both for good and bad. Used wrongly, it can jeopardize our relationships, work and even our health.

It is a natural emotion that helps us instinctively detect and respond to a threatening situation. If positively channeled, it can be a strong motivating force. However, it must be moderately and responsively used.

Anyone who offers a service will agree that we all have at some point in time encountered that customer who will always find faults in our services, or those who are so sure that they are the only customers on our database.

Imagine Austin, a device distributor whose customer insists on getting personalized services such as bringing the merchandize to his home or office; instead of visiting the store or website, then Austin sets it up to ensure it’s working. Then the customer calls him the next day, yelling at him and telling him that it is no longer working because he sold a fake and useless product, only for Austin to leave everything else to go visit the customer (again). Upon getting there, to his dismay, he realizes that the customer did not even remember how to power on the device! Yes, we’ve all met one or two of these people.

Some customers can be disrespectful in their approach to issues and the reality is that you cannot control another person’s behavior but you can definitely control yours.


Remember the old adage “The Customer is always right”. In the real world, the customer is not always right but remember that you can never win a battle with your customer. Except the customer becomes violent, you must never reply an irate customer with a rash, insultive or derogative response. They will not only take their money elsewhere, but will tell others; hence, damage your reputation.

Remember, it’s only business and nothing else:
You must learn to detach your business from your personal life. Learn not to take every offensive word or a customer’s rage personally. It’s the service you render that brought you in contact with that customer and if Austin replies that customer cautiously, they may even become great friends in the future, and that means more sales and referrals, hence, more money!

Here are some tips for managing your anger:

  • When faced with an irate customer, as tempting as it may be, NEVER reply the customer angrily.
  • Pause and listen: Let the customer vent before you speak. The better you listen to what a person is saying, the more the chances that you’ll be able to find a resolution that does not involve an angry response.
  • Smile: Even if you’re speaking to the customer over the phone. A warm smile will reflect in you voice tone.
  • Take deep breaths. Tell yourself you can handle the situation.
  • Stop the negative thoughts. Do not dwell on the situation or the customer’s behavior but on how to offer a solution.
  • Empathize: Try to see the situation from your customer’s perspective. Remind yourself to be objective and realize that everyone makes mistakes and have different points of view to issues and it is through mistakes that people learn how to improve.
  • Be Assertive: The word is assertive NOT aggressive. When you are angry it is often difficult to express yourself properly and put together appropriate responses. Ensure you respond intelligently.

In conclusion, anger can also be an emotion that when allowed to get out of control, leads to stress, distress, unhealthiness and unhappiness. Uncontrolled anger can seriously harm your personal and professional life, because it can become destructive – to yourself and the people around you. Remember, the customer brings the money and you are in business because of that customer!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Chinekwu Nwosu-Igbo is a Marketing, Customer Care and training consultant with years of experience in building brand identity, effective Customer relations and unique contact centers. She is also a writer and training facilitator. Email- [email protected]

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