How to Respond to a Screaming Customer

John Krautzel
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As a customer service representative, you are bound to encounter an irate, screaming customer from time to time. Whether the customer is wrong or right, it is your job to appease the customer, find a solution to the problem at hand and ensure that the customer remains a loyal, satisfied customer of your company.

The first step in dealing with a screaming customer is to not take it personally. In all likelihood, the customer is not angry with you, but with the performance of the service or the product that your company provides. Losing your temper with the screaming customer only infuses the situation with more anger and hostility and can cost you your job. Therefore, it is wise to emotionally separate yourself from the situation, remain calm and speak with an even, sympathetic voice.

The next step in irate customer resolution is to listen. According to Forbes, an angry, screaming customer wants to feel like his concerns are being respectfully acknowledged. You accomplish this feat by remaining silent until the customer is finished speaking, then repeating the customer's concerns back to him to establish clarity. Throughout this process, uncross your arms, stand up or sit straight in your chair and maintain eye contact to ensure that the customer realizes he has your full, undivided attention.

After the screaming customer has finished speaking, express sympathy for his situation, apologize for the misstep and ask the customer how he desires the situation to be remedied. Do not place the blame on another employee or ask another company representative to speak with the customer. If the customer does not provide you with a satisfactory solution, speak with him about the available options. For example, you might suggest a cash refund, a product exchange or a second service appointment that rectifies the situation.

Once you and the screaming customer have agreed on a solution, execute the refund, product exchange or second service appointment immediately. This final step assures the customer that you have his best interests in mind and are willing to ensure that he does not leave your place of employment dissatisfied.

The final step in irate customer resolution is to take a few minutes to yourself to regroup before you speak with other customers. Dealing with an irate customer is a stressful experience that you can internalize to your detriment. Therefore, it is best to take a short, brisk walk, speak with a co-worker who makes you laugh for a few minutes or treat yourself to a refreshing beverage or snack.

Following these tips, you can be prepared to help an angry customer feel respected, recognized and taken care of. Remain ready to handle a screaming customer by staying abreast of your company's customer service policies and dissatisfied employee resolution protocol.


Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles at



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  • Sara P.
    Sara P.

    The best way to respond to a screaming customer is to apologize for their frustrations and listen Then explain that screaming will not help matters

  • Emuobosa O.
    Emuobosa O.

    My strategy to attend to a shouting customer is to first take his/her side and show him/her that I fully understand the claim. That way, I get them to calm down first. Then I lead them to be corrected with questions like. "When would you like to get your withdrawal?", the answer is usually, "Now". So I continue by saying, "Okay sir, I would attend to your issue and ensure it gets treated. Can I have a number to call you back?" and the customer quotes, "+1234567....(some number)". Now the money won't arrive till Monday but I keep calling until I confirm the money has arrived (even if I have to call over the weekend). Customers enjoy feedback. It's like chocolate to them. That way they know they are not alone.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    So very true Michael and what a great attitude you have!! I have been on the receiving end of the screaming also and it certainly is not easy. But very true that it's not YOU that the customer is angry with. Keep up that great attitude and you will go far.

  • Michael L.
    Michael L.

    I have dealt with screamers a lot while working with call centers over the years. The first thing I do is listen and let them yell. Never take it personally. If you listen, you can more often than not figure out what the problem really is, not just what the customer perceives it to be. This works with internal and external customers.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Very true @Debra. We have to find a way to give the customer satisfaction while still maintaining our company's goals and mission. We also have to remember that, sometimes, no matter what we offer, a customer is never going to be happy.


    and come to a resolution both company and customer can be happy with.

  • Theresa S.
    Theresa S.

    Listen, Investigate, Conclude, Fix

  • Patricia R.
    Patricia R.

    Yes, I have dealt with customers most of my adult life, I am 38 years old. This is the number one rule in customer service.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Sure the customer can be wrong but we can't tell them that. All we can do is apologize and try to make things right. Many times all the customer wants to hear is that they are right. They don't always want something tangible from us like a product or money. Or maybe they just don't want what happened to them to happen to another customer. We can learn from our customers and make our processes much better.

  • Maureen V.
    Maureen V.

    yes customer is always right, but there are times after some investigation, and working with the customer to figure out what exactly happened sometimes you both will discover the customer can be wrong.

  • Maureen V.
    Maureen V.

    I dealt with customers on the phone not face to face.

  • Maureen V.
    Maureen V.

    listen carefully, explain you need time to investigate what exactly happened, you may need to get back to them for more information as you find the "pieces to the puzzle". I have found that usually makes feel you are now on their side and working for them.

  • Cheryl A.
    Cheryl A.

    this really works....and, sometimes the situation gets to a point where the customer "wants to speak to a manager". we do all we can do for an unhappy customer and usually more.

  • Galo M.
    Galo M.

    Empathy and care should alwasy be the motto for great customer service

  • Melissa rhines
    Melissa rhines

    The customer is always right

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