Customer Support | | Published December 18, 2023

TeamSupport | Five Ways to Respond to Angry Customers this Holiday Season

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” doesn’t always ring true for customer service or support teams. Though some industries might slow down during the month of December, others get more hectic and tensions can run high. 

Ever wonder what to say to diffuse the situation when a customer is venting about a problem that’s difficult to solve? Here are five pro tips from customer service veterans.


1. "What I'm hearing you say is..."

Feeling unheard can make anyone agitated. Remain quiet and listen while the customer explains the full situation. Resist the urge to interrupt. When they are done speaking, you can start by briefly summarizing their problem and need. This allows them to get what they need to say off their chest, and shows them that they don’t need to argue with you to be heard. 


2. “I understand, that is frustrating.”

Showing genuine empathy is crucial to getting through to the customer and helping them transition from venting to problem solving. Simply apologizing for something that isn’t under your control isn’t always effective. In addition to offering an apology, focus on what the customer is feeling and how you can help them remedy the situation moving forward. 


3. “I’ve been there. I know how you feel.”

By this point in the conversation, you’ve likely learned not only about what the customer is experiencing but also some information about the customer themselves. Let’s say it’s very late in their time zone. Maybe they’re missing dinner with their family or a chance to unwind in the evening because they're stuck working on an issue. In this case, you can say something like “I know how it feels to be up very late working on a problem when you’re exhausted from the day. I hope I can help you resolve it so you can take a break soon.” 


4.  “Other customers who have been in this situation have found this to be helpful...”

Sometimes the solution requires more than just a simple fix. It might be an ongoing problem that’s still being diagnosed by your development team. Worse yet, other customers might be filing similar complaints. Show the customer that you’re working to alleviate their stress in the short-term while a more satisfying resolution is being worked out. In these cases, crowdsourcing might be the way to go. It not only shows that the customer isn’t alone in what they’re experiencing, but that you’re on their side, working together on the problem as a team. 


5. “Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

Whether you were able to find a resolution in a single phone call or chat conversation, or you need to escalate the issue to other team members, it’s important to make sure the customer has felt heard and that you’ve done all you can for them in that single interaction. Regardless of whether you solved the issue, it’s important for them to feel that the time they spent with you was productive and not a waste.


Dealing with angry customers requires a combination of empathy, active listening, practical solutions, and a commitment to learning and improving. By focusing on these techniques, you can not only resolve immediate issues but also build stronger relationships with your customers, turning negative experiences into positive ones and fostering loyalty to your brand. Remember, a satisfied customer is not just a one-time transaction—it's an investment in the long-term success of your business.

Looking for more ways to level with your customers?

In 2024 we're launching TeamSupport AI, a suite of tools powered by machine learning that will provide sentiment analysis, suggested solutions, and other game-changing features. Learn more: schedule a demo with us today.