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Anger management is a widely discussed topic, especially at work. If you interact with customers on a daily basis, you have most likely been exposed to some that are very difficult to handle. Unlike other places such as schools, home or social gatherings; staying calm at your business or workplace with irate customers is a delicate balance between meeting their needs, staying professional and controlling your anger and an urge to confront.  Above all, you are trying to run a business and have a reputation to maintain.

Difficult or irate customers are very common. They come in all forms; irritating, abusive, disrespectful, mean, demanding, impatient, nagging, persistent, undermining or simply arrogant. Staying composed and calm with all the work pressures while being rudely treated, can be challenging and very damaging to your business if poorly handled. The following are some tips to help on how to manage your anger when dealing with unsatisfied or angry customers in the workplace:


Whether you think the customer is just being difficult or she is genuine, learn to listen.  Give all your attention directly to the customer.  This will often calm them down as they just want to know that you seem to care and what they are saying matters to you. 

Don't let them get to you

An irate customer may make some emotional and disparaging remarks.  Some may just want to provoke you.  Don’t take what they are saying personally.

Stay calm

Tame your emotions and concentrate on active and non-defensive listening. This makes them feel like you are interested in their feelings and it calms both of you down.

Employ empathy

Remember the best way to control your feelings and stay calm is to control the customer's feelings. After you have noted the customers concerns and discrepancies, which most difficult customers will always magnify, try using disarming terms such as "I understand…" or "You are right…." these again gives them a feeling that you have been listening to them and you are willing to resolve or at least try to resolve their concerns.

Don't argue back

Some difficult customers will want to instigate arguments either to prove they are right or that they know a little more than you do, even if they don't. Disqualifying their ideas may bring up more arguments, instead, try to introduce another idea based on your professional knowledge and convince them professionally that the new idea can be even more effective. Similarly, don't try to "shut down" the irate customer by raising your voice, it only makes them worse.

Use stress management techniques

Handling multiple consecutive difficult customers in addition to business pressures can send your nerves over the edge. The more you're stressed, fatigued and tired the more you are likely to snap at an irate customer. Take breaks once in a while to de-stress yourself. A cup of coffee, fresh water, milk shake or a chat with a friend may do. Meditation and breathing techniques are equally important if you have some extra time.

Have a positive attitude

A positive attitude and mindset at your business not only keeps you stress free and healthy but also has an influence to the customers reaction and mood. Stay happy and try to be playful and friendly to the customers. A happy mood will set the tone of your interaction.

Provide a solution

After carefully listening to your customer, offer a solution if possible or at least promise to work on the issue that might be concerning them. If the customer is angry and annoyed for some reason, stop saying sorry. The term sorry has been overused and it almost becoming a cliché. Use instead a more disarming phrase such as "I apologize for….." It also helps to use their name in the apology statement; this makes them feel important, calms them down and saves you the trouble of having to deal with your own emotions.

For more tips on how to best manage your anger in the workplace, online anger control classes are an excellent source.  You can choose the length of course you would like to take, and log-in and out at your convenience.  Taking anger management classes will teach you successful skills for controlling your anger which will help you in your daily life.

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