5 Steps for Calming Down an Angry Client

By: Stephanie Tuesday May 17, 2016 comments Tags: Mindset, Customer Service, Public relations


Few things can damage a business' reputation like an angry client.

If a client feels neglected, ripped off or ill-treated, and the situation doesn't get addressed, there's a very real chance that they'll cut their ties with you - or worse, splash one-star reviews across every site that pertains to your industry.

Nobody's perfect, and everyone makes mistakes or partakes in misunderstandings now and then. So it's probably just a matter of time before you have to deal with an angry or dissatisfied client, and it's important to know how to handle this situation when it arises.

Here are five steps you can take to calm down your angry client, restore your connection and their trust, and repair your relationship with them:

1. Stay calm, and don't take it personally.

If you get angry or stressed, then your stress and anger will probably react with theirs to create an escalating feedback loop of frustration and rage.

When you feel yourself starting to get worked up, mentally take a step back and remind yourself, "This isn't personal. Their reaction is based on their perspective, and I don't have to let their perspective define me or defend myself against it.

"If I HAVE done something wrong, I will take steps to correct it. Either way, I don't have to control their anger or let it get into me."

Let them have their point of view, without needing to control or correct it. When you give them that space, you also give yourself the space to breathe, calm down and see things more clearly, and to respond constructively instead of giving a knee-jerk reaction.

2. Validate their perspective, apologize and thank them for sharing.

This may be difficult, especially if their perspective feels like an attack on you, but it's important to make them feel heard and understood.

So tell them, "Thank you for sharing that. It's important to me that my clients are satisfied, and I always want to be aware if someone has a problem with my products or services.

"I'm sorry that (the problem they expressed), and I definitely plan to get that resolved for you."

If it was something you said that they misunderstood, you can say, "I can see how what I said could come across that way, but that certainly isn't what I meant to say, and I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. Let's see if I can phrase it better this time."

That allows you to explain what you really meant and tell your side of the story, without making them feel like they need to defend their interpretation.

3. See if anything else is wrong.

While it isn't fun to hear about the things you did wrong, it's important to draw out all the client's grievances and address them rather than letting things fester. Think of it as drawing poison out of a wound so it can heal properly.

​So after you've validated their perspective and apologized for the misunderstanding, add, "While we're talking, I want to be sure that there aren't any problems that I'm leaving unaddressed. Are there any other problems between us that you'd like to tell me about?"

This tells your client that you really care about their satisfaction, and it gives you the chance to address problems before they become serious. This will help to rebuild their trust in you, and stop future rifts in the relationship before they start.

4. Offer a concrete solution.

It isn't enough to simply say "I'm sorry I missed our call because I thought you meant 3:00 MY time". It's important to add a concrete solution, such as "from now, on let's assume that all call times are in your time zone", so they feel reassured that the problem isn't going to reoccur.

Find out what they want, and if their request is reasonable, describe the specific steps you're going to take to ensure that request is fulfilled.

But what if their request isn't reasonable?

5. Hold your boundaries and offer a compromise.

There may be times when you can't acquiesce to your customer's request. Their request may not be reasonable, it may violate your company's policy or an agreement you previously made with them, or it may simply be unfair to you.

At times like this, don't compromise your needs and values to appease an unreasonable person. Instead, offer a compromise or alternative.

You could tell them, "I'm afraid I can't do that because (explain your reasons), but here's what I can do. From what I understand, you want (the need behind their demand), correct? So, to make sure that happens, how about I (alternate solution)?"

You may encounter situations where the client doesn't want a reasonable solution, where they refuse to be reasoned with, or when the two of you simply aren't a good fit. Once in a while, you may need to simply let a relationship go.

But if you follow the steps in this article, you can spare yourself a lot of lost or angry customers, repair a lot of relationships, and keep many clients that you might otherwise have lost.

Did these tips help you to resolve a disagreement with a client?

Do you have any tips to share?

I look forward to reading your comments.



About the Author: Stephanie

Stephanie is a copywriter and business coach. She specializes in helping coaches to create customized client attraction plans and put them into action, and to design lucrative and life-changing group programs, so they can help more people, make more money, and have more free time.