Best Strategies to Deal with Rude Customers

Best Strategies to Deal with Rude Customers

How to Handle Rude Customers With Ease

Regardless of the industry you work in, you will have to deal with rude customers at some point in your career. Whether their attitude is sparked by a mistake you made or not, knowing how to handle the situation with tact can save your business a large amount of damage control. 

In this guide, you will learn why customers are rude. You will find out how to handle sensitive situations to diffuse anger and maintain a positive reputation.

How to Handle Rude Customers With Ease

Why are Customers Rude?

Customers can become rude when they are dissatisfied or frustrated. If not handled in the right way the situation can quickly escalate. Identifying why a customer is rude will help you handle the situation in a tactful way.

Six reasons why customers are rude include:

  1. Unmet expectations
  2. Product issues
  3. Poor customer service
  4. Lack of acknowledgment
  5. Undelivered promises
  6. A bad experience with your company

How Rude Customers Affect Your Business

Keeping customers happy is important for the health and success of your business in the long run. Ways in which rude customers can affect your business include:

Customer loss

Unhappy customers will not do business with you again.

No brand loyalty

Brand reputation and loyalty go hand in hand. Dissatisfied customers will have a poor perception of your company and take their business somewhere else. They will not contribute to your brand reputation in a positive way.

Sharing negative reviews online and in-person

Rude and unhappy customers can cause a lot of damage by sharing poor reviews online and on social media channels. Unfortunately, companies have little control over this. It is, therefore, better to keep your clients happy than to try and restore a damaged brand image later.

How to Deal with Rude Customers

Dealing with rude customers can be tricky especially when they are so upset that they become unreasonable. Companies should have strategies in place and provide appropriate staff training for dealing with rude customers.

Best Strategies to Deal with Rude Customers

Here are 11 effective strategies to deal with rude customers.

  1. Provide excellent customer service

Regardless of how good your product is, if your customer service does not match up you are bound to have dissatisfied customers. Unhappy customers will take their business to your competitors. Ensure that you have a well-trained customer support team who are dedicated to providing the best customer service possible.

  1. Stay calm

Displaying the same rude attitude back to your customer will only anger them further. Do not take your customer’s attitude personally. Keep your personal feelings aside. Develop strategies to pacify the situation without annoying the customer further.

  1. Avoid blame

Avoid using language that blames either the customer or the company. Blaming the customer directly, even if it is their fault, will escalate their frustration. Instead of blaming anyone, rather acknowledge the problem. Reassure the customer that you hear their frustration and that you are working on a solution.

What to say: 

“I’m sorry. There seems to be a mistake and I am working on a solution for you.”

  1. Keep your promises

Do not make promises you can’t keep in an attempt to appease your rude customer. This will only worsen the situation.

  1. Apologize

Apologizing to a rude customer is a quick and easy way to start calming the situation. It shows the customer that you acknowledge their frustration and are willing to help with a solution.

Step Guide to Dealing with Rude Customers

What to say: 

“I’m sorry that you’ve had to deal with this.”

“I’m sorry this has happened to you. It is not the experience we wish to create for our customers.”

  1. Take prompt action

Although an apology is important, it will mean a lot more to your customer when accompanied by immediate action. If a customer has been let down by your product or service, fast and efficient action is required if you stand any chance of retaining their business.

  1. Listen and show empathy

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes to try and understand their frustration. Show the customer that you understand their disappointment. Customers are sometimes rude because they feel unheard and disregarded. Being rude may be out of frustration, but it can also be a last resort to get your attention. Acknowledge the customer, especially when they are rude.

  1. Let the customer speak

When a customer has reached the point of being rude, they will have a lot to say. Let the customer speak without interrupting them. Do not defend yourself or the company. Only step in if the customer becomes abusive.

  1. Use positive language

Always use positive language when interacting with rude customers. Customers very often take their business elsewhere because they are frustrated with untrained support staff. How a customer feels they are being treated will hugely influence their perception of the business. Using positive language reinforces what you can do for the customer instead of what you can’t.

What to say: 

“My apologies…”

“You’re welcome…”

“I understand why you feel that way.”

What not to say: 

“I don’t know…”

“Please calm down…”

“No problem…”

Check our the following tips on how to respond to rude customers via email.

  1. Structure your customer experience around convenience

The fewer obstacles to customer satisfaction, the less likely customers are to become frustrated and rude. Make it easy for customers to find the information they need and to communicate with you through various channels.

  1. Get help from your support team

If you cannot solve the customer’s problem yourself relay the problem to the correct department or a customer support staff member who can assist. Never respond with a direct ‘no’ to assisting an angry customer. Use more tactful ways to communicate with rude customers.

What to say:

“Before I can answer your question, I need to check some details with the relevant department. Can I contact you with feedback later today?”

Quick Summary

Having to deal with rude customers is sometimes part of a customer service role. Using the right strategies when dealing with rude customers can however turn them into happy clients.

Customers can become rude due to:

  • Unmet expectations
  • Product issues
  • Poor customer service
  • Lack of acknowledgment
  • Undelivered promises
  • A bad experience with your company

11 Strategies to deal with rude customers are:

  1. Deliver better customer service
  2. Stay calm
  3. Avoid blame
  4. Keep your promises
  5. Apologize
  6. Take prompt action
  7. Listen and show empathy
  8. Let the customer speak
  9. Use positive language
  10. Structure your customer experience around convenience
  11. Get help from your support team

Customers can sometimes be rude because they are having a bad day and things are blown out of proportion. Regardless of the customer’s reason for being rude, don’t take it personally and remain helpful.

Other Resources:

CustomersFirst Academy offers comprehensive customer service training designed to help you grow your skills and advance your career.

To keep learning and developing your knowledge of customer service, we highly recommend the additional resources below:

How to Succeed in a Customer Facing Role
Effective Strategies for Managing Escalations in Customer Service
How to Succeed at Internal Customer Service
Business Strategy Guide to Customer Intimacy

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