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

Chinekwu Nwosu-Igbo



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]


  1. A Real Nigerian

    February 4, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Why do all these when you can just stab them in the face?

  2. Cynhams cakes, Abuja.

    February 4, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    Nice piece.
    I can totally relate with this.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Patience is indeed a virtue

  3. Nammy

    February 4, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    Nice useful tips but really easier said than done. Angry insensitive customers would push you to the wall and still keep pushing even when they see uv got nowhere to go

  4. Dr.N

    February 4, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    If it’s a phone call, try holding the phone away from your ear. Periodically listen to see if he or she is making sense but if he is just irate, no point poisoning yourself wt toxic words.

    • Anna

      February 4, 2016 at 11:35 pm

      Dr N you are right, I do that too. They’ll not know I wasn’t listening and I won’t have to process toxins later 🙂

  5. alwayshappy

    February 4, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    Just pull a kanye and leave them fuming, ranting and raving #dropthemic

  6. Jennie

    February 5, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    nice one nekwu!!!!

  7. Ada Okigbo

    February 5, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Nice piece. I pray for grace to imbibe the virtue of patience.

  8. Az

    February 6, 2016 at 12:29 am

    Go girl! You got that right!! Sure a lota folks out there wanna hear this. Great job!!!

  9. Tricia

    February 6, 2016 at 8:23 am

    forget these things ma’am, some customers deserve serious beating. I work in a government establishment, so whether they like it or not, they must use our services, bcos they came to us simply bcos they cannot afford the services private sector provides. But untop of it, they will still be forming customer for us. I can remember the day one annoying Yoruba woman came and one thing led to another and she slapped a colleague of mine, if u see the way everyone pounced on her and threw her out of there. Nonsense. This advise is for private sector people, as for me, my salary is guaranteed whether customer or no customer. The rude customers can go and get the services in the private sector if they want to be pampered. Nigerians are very rude people generally.

  10. Hannah

    February 10, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    It can be really frustrating for a customer to take their anger out on you, and truly requires a special person and patience to withstand that kind of hostility. Great advice in your post.

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