Dealing with rude customers is never easy or pleasant. Once they’re no longer in control of their emotions, finding ways to de-escalate the situation is tough—but not impossible. So, we’ve listed some of the best responses to rude customers to help you navigate these moments.
Our stance is all about encouraging you to maintain your composure and stay professional. It’s not always easy if someone is hurling insults at you, but being the bigger person can help keep your and your company’s integrity intact.
Let’s take a look at some of the best responses to rude customers:
How do you respond to a rude customer? (without escalating the situation)
When things go wrong and your customers aren't happy, it's important to get to the bottom of the issue right away. Why? First of all, 55% of customers prefer a quick resolution to their issue over a personalized response. In addition, 70% of customers will share their negative experience with others.
Are there any techniques for de-escalating a situation with a rude customer?
Dealing with an angry customer can be challenging, but effective de-escalation techniques can turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one. Here are some key steps to deescalate an angry customer situation:
1. Stay Calm and Professional
Approach: Maintain a calm demeanor. Your calmness can help soothe the situation, as emotions are often contagious.
2. Listen Actively
Approach: Let the customer express their concerns without interruption. Active listening involves nodding, making eye contact, and giving verbal acknowledgments like "I understand" or "I see."
3. Empathize and Validate Their Feelings
Approach: Show empathy by acknowledging their feelings. Saying something like, “I can understand why you're upset” helps the customer feel heard and understood.
4. Apologize Sincerely
Approach: Offer a genuine apology for the inconvenience they’ve experienced. This doesn't necessarily mean accepting blame, but it shows you care about their distress.
5. Identify the Problem Clearly
Approach: Summarize what you understand the issue to be. This ensures you’re addressing the right problem and shows the customer you’ve been paying attention.
6. Offer Solutions
Approach: Present clear solutions or alternatives to resolve the issue. If immediate resolution isn't possible, explain the steps you will take to address their concerns.
7. Set Clear Expectations
Approach: Be clear about what you can and cannot do. Setting realistic expectations helps prevent further frustration.
8. Take Action Promptly
Approach: Act on the agreed solution quickly. Prompt action demonstrates your commitment to resolving the issue.
9. Follow Up
Approach: After the issue is resolved, follow up with the customer to ensure they are satisfied with the solution and to rebuild trust.
10. Learn and Improve
Approach: Use the feedback to improve processes or products, preventing future occurrences of similar issues.
Personalize Your Responses: Avoid overly scripted responses. Personalization can make the customer feel more valued.
Maintain Professional Boundaries: While empathizing, keep the interaction professional and avoid getting emotionally involved.
Use Positive Language: Frame your responses positively. For instance, say “I can” and “I will” instead of “I can’t” or “I won’t.”
Seek Support if Needed: If the situation escalates beyond your control, don't hesitate to involve a manager or supervisor.
Note: You do NOT have to deal with rule, verbally abusive customers. When that happens, make sure you:
Document the interaction. This information can be useful for future reference and may be necessary if there are follow-up actions from your management. Studies suggest that 69% of employees say they’ll work harder if they feel appreciated.
End the interaction. If the abuse continues despite your efforts, inform the customer that you will need to end the conversation. You can say, “I’m sorry, but I will have to end this call if the abusive language does not stop.”
Safety First. If you ever feel threatened or unsafe, prioritize your safety and seek immediate assistance.
Professional Boundaries. Maintaining professionalism is important, but you also have the right to not be subjected to abuse.
Remember, every customer interaction is an opportunity to demonstrate your company's commitment to customer satisfaction. Handling angry customers effectively can not only resolve individual issues but also improve your company's reputation.
We’ve also put together a guide on how to deal with rude customers, which you can read. In that post, we suggest you:
- Stay calm
- Manage your expectations
- Remember, it’s not about you
- Get to the heart of the matter
- Find a solution that works
- Follow up
- Train your team on how to respond
- Develop standard responses to help your team
Follow these steps, and you should be able to calm down an angry customer. You might even see them come full circle.
In a study published in the Harvard Business Review, researchers found that customers who had complained to companies and received good customer service in response were more likely to reward that brand with loyalty and pay more for products and services in the future.
Your customer could go from a critic of your company to one of its champions. What a win!
This could have an enormously positive impact, since 72% of customers will share a positive customer experience with six or more people.
Can you respond to a rude customer faster using AI?
You probably don't want to rely solely on AI to respond to a rude customer. (That'll just make 'em angrier.) But you can use it to help you craft an empathetic response faster. Use this Magical template generator to create a custom response for your specific scenario. (For example, you can ask for 'an email apologizing to a rude customer for a mixup with their billing’) and even choose the tone of voice you want to use. To generate an unlimited number of email templates, add the free Magical Chrome extension to your browser.
So, what should you say to mean customers? 7 templates to use
One of the most important aspects of good customer service, especially if your customers aren’t happy, is response time. The quicker you respond to customers, the more likely they will forgive their poor experience.
You can help your team improve their efficiency by making frequently-used responses readily available (note: with Magical you can save all your commonly-used responses as shortcuts that you can expand using a few keystrokes).
While these templates should always be tweaked so that they’re customer-specific, having a strong skeleton in place will make the process simpler, faster, and more consistent.
Here are some useful templates to help you respond to rude customers:
1. First response email template
Send this email out as soon as you become aware of an issue. Again, timing is everything.
(As an aside, the Harvard Business Review research also suggests that agents sign their names in these sorts of interactions. It helps to create a more human connection between your company and your customers.)
2. Explanatory email template
This email should be sent as soon as you’ve uncovered the reasons behind your customer’s complaint.
3. Follow-up email template
This email may or may not be necessary. If the customer has received a discount, refund or voucher that they’re free to use at their discretion, they may find another email irritating.
But if they’re waiting for a product to be replaced, they may be impressed by your attention to detail.
Always read and re-read your emails to check for punctuation or grammar issues. Sloppy writing implies that your customer service is similarly weak – and you’re already dealing with an unhappy customer who may be looking for further faults.
4. Slow service email template
This email would be used if the issue was due to slow service or a delayed response to a customer issue.
Subject: Our Apologies for the Delay and Next Steps
Email Body: Hello [Customer's Name],
Firstly, I apologize for the delay in [service/response] and for any inconvenience this may have caused. Your experience is important to us, and we regret that we did not meet your - or our own - expectations this time.
I have personally looked into the issue and [explain the cause of the delay, if appropriate]. To rectify this, [mention specific corrective action].
As a token of our commitment to your satisfaction, I would like to offer you [a discount, complimentary service, etc.]. We value your support and hope to have the opportunity to serve you better in the future.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any further questions or concerns.
5. Product issue or defect
If there was some issue with the product (or service) in general, use this template.
Subject: Addressing Your Concerns About [Product Name]
Email Body: Dear [Customer's Name],
Thank you for contacting us regarding the issue with [Product Name]. I am sorry to hear that your experience did not meet our standard of quality. We aim to deliver only the best, and I apologize that we fell short in this instance.
To address this, we would like to offer [a replacement, refund, repair, etc.]. Additionally, we have forwarded your feedback to our [relevant department] to prevent such issues in the future.
Your satisfaction is our priority, and we hope this resolution is a step towards restoring your confidence in our products.
Thank you for your understanding, and please let us know if there's anything else we can do for you.
6. Misunderstanding or some kind of error
Misunderstandings and errors are common since, well, we're human. Use this template for these occasions.
Subject: Clarification and Resolution Regarding Your Concern
Email Body: Hello [Customer's Name],
I'm reaching out regarding your recent experience with [service/product]. After reviewing your concerns, it seems there may have been a misunderstanding [or describe the error]. I apologize for any confusion and would like to clarify [provide the correct information or situation].
To make up for this oversight, we would like to [offer a solution or compensation]. We strive for clear communication and accuracy, and your feedback helps us improve.
We appreciate your understanding and are here to answer any further questions you may have.
7. A " We hear you and we're working on it" template
This is a more general, but empathetic response to an upset customer.
Subject: We Hear You: Addressing Your Concerns
Email Body: Dear [Customer's Name],
Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. I am truly sorry to hear about your experience with [specific issue]. I understand how frustrating this must be for you, and I appreciate the opportunity to make things right.
We take feedback like yours seriously and are already looking into the matter. In the meantime, I'd like to offer [a specific solution, discount, refund, etc.] as a gesture of our commitment to your satisfaction.
We value your business and are committed to ensuring our customers have a great experience with us. If there’s anything more we can do to assist you, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Change channels if necessary
It’s worth noting that things can get misread over email. Picking up the phone and talking to a customer in person is sometimes a better approach.
Similarly, if you’ve been dealing with a difficult customer over the phone, putting something in writing might help to diffuse the situation. Judge this on a case-by-case basis and change channels if you think another method might be better.
How do you respond to an aggressive customer?
Remember that there’s a limit, and that a rude customer who makes snide remarks is different to one who becomes verbally or physically threatening.
You should never tolerate aggressive customers, so your customer service policy must outline how your company will deal with this. Your employees need to know that they have your support if a customer becomes hostile or abusive.
Properly supporting and appreciating your employees has many tangible benefits. Studies suggest that 69% of employees say they’ll work harder if they feel appreciated.
What about smart replies to rude comments?
If you look around for clever and witty responses you can give to rude customers, you’re likely to find a wide variety of spiteful and snarky answers. These ideas are often overly casual and completely unprofessional. They also regularly resort to name-calling.
While some of the responses can be entertaining to read, they’re not an approach that we’d ever recommend. Replying to an irate customer with “Cool story, bro”, or “I hope your day is as pleasant as your personality” will almost certainly make the situation worse.
In other words, respond rudely, and you could quickly find yourself dealing with negative public reviews. These could be published in the press, on review platforms such as Trustpilot, or on social media—and will affect your business’s reputation. Regarding customer service, “fighting fire with fire” is rarely a smart strategy to pursue.
Instead, save some polite and professional responses in Magical. Use the slash command to embed them in your customer support replies anywhere you work. No setup required—just download Magical and it works effortlessly.