How to handle upset customers on the phone

Reaching out to a prospect for the first time has proven to be quite a nerve-wracking experience. Regardless of how well-prepared you are for a call, you can never be prepared enough. You can research a potential customer, but there is no way to determine how the other party will feel that day. In an ideal scenario, the prospect would answer the phone with an enthusiastic “yes” and be receptive to scheduling a meeting. But not every circumstance is perfect, and chances are you’ll be met with hostility on the other side of the line. That begs the question, how can one handle upset customers on the phone? The good news is that even the worst collocutors can be managed with the right approach. Let us show you how!

How to handle upset customers on the phone the right way?

There are many reasons why the person you are conversing with might be displeased. Perhaps, they’ve been approached by your company before, but the contact has gone awry. Or they’ve previously had negative experiences with a product/service similar to yours. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to determine the reason behind their frustration. But what is possible is to come out of the call a winner. While ConvertMore callback widget can help you land new customers, we can also help you learn how to navigate through those not-so-pleasant interactions.

#1 Don’t take it personally

A customer service representative that is having a rough day
A potential customer may be upset but isn’t upset with you. Don’t take things to heart!

The call has only begun. You haven’t even had a chance to present yourself, let alone what you are offering, yet, you are met with criticism. What now? How can you put those opening lines for cold calling to the test when you aren’t given a chance to even speak? First things first, don’t take this responsibility to heart. The prospect isn’t angry with you personally. They are frustrated because they do not know your company. They don’t know its values and, therefore, cannot possibly trust it. But that might be about to change. One way to overcome this issue is by acknowledging that this is the first time the two of you are conversing during your introduction. This might help them feel more comfortable and open to hearing what you say.

#2 Take control of the call

At the beginning of your conversation, you’ll probably be asked questions such as ”Who are you?” or ”What is it that you want?”. However, remember that it’s crucial to maintain control, however dismissive or hostile the other person may sound. Don’t be thrown off guard! In response to these inquiries, firmly take charge. Make sure your voice sounds confident and you speak with conviction.

#3 Practice brevity

It’s important to be mindful of your potential customer’s time before, during, and after a phone call. You should, of course, not mimic their tone, but what you should do is aim to be as brief as they are. Don’t beat around the bush if they seem antsy or restless. In short, don’t waste people’s time by rambling. Introduce yourself and get to the point quickly.

#4 Listen, listen, listen!

A woman listening to what the person she is talking to has to say as a way to handle upset customers on the phone
Listening to what the other person can help you handle upset customers on the phone.

If you want to learn how to boost conversion rate, remember that the answer might lie in active listening. On top of that, by listening, like really listening, you will become someone that knows just how to handle upset customers on the phone. That said, after explaining the purpose of the call, the prospect deserves to have their say. It’s crucial to allow them to speak, regardless of whether they want to talk about their day or reflect on a former incident. Once they are done, take the time to clarify and verify their statements. Show them that you care and are willing to assist with their problems. It’s also imperative that you show empathy throughout this talk. If you do so, the potential customer might even reveal to you their pain points. Ones could potentially help you improve your strategies from now on.

#5 Use empathy to your advantage

''We hear you'' written on a white paper
Show a prospect you hear, understand, and are willing to help with their issue.

And that brings us to the previously mentioned empathy. It is a crucial component of a phone call that has the power to close the deal. What it does is that it allows you to connect with future customers on a deeper level. It helps demonstrate that you can relate to their pain. Furthermore, by showing compassion, in a prospect’s eyes, you become more than just a voice on the other end of the line. You become a human being. A real one! But empathy alone isn’t going to cut it. You’ll also need to provide the other individual with constructive feedback and ideas for improvement. They will probably adopt a more positive outlook on the topic by providing valuable insight. As a result, the chances of them becoming paying customers will increase.

#6 Sell…one step at a time

You should not force an angry customer to purchase if they aren’t ready! Ultimately, this could make them even more frustrated. If you want to solve their problems and find a solution that works for all parties, offering a follow-up call or making an appointment is best. In other words: you don’t have to sell the product/service during the first call. But you are encouraged to sell them the concept of the next step. After they have noticed that you aren’t that eager to ”sell” but are looking to accommodate them the best way, they may feel more at ease. And it should go without saying that the more comfortable the prospect feels, the more they would be willing to consider joining your customer list.

#7 Learn to take ”no” for an answer

Knowing how to reduce bounce rate and other metrics is essential. However, no tactic will help you bring a new customer on board if you ignore their ”NOs” if you’ve already convinced a potential client to move forward with you; great! Schedule a consequent appointment there and then, as losing clarity about the next steps and leaving follow-up to chance can derail any progress accomplished. If the other person isn’t ready to schedule a meeting, you can inquire whether there would be a more suitable time to contact them. If they continue to say no, respect everyone’s time and end the conversation. As a result, you may focus your effort on more prospective chances instead of on those that aren’t a suitable fit.

We are all hoping for that call that will be an absolute success from start to finish. But people are curious creatures, meaning we cannot always predict someone’s behavior. If you stumble upon that one unpleasant individual, don’t let them get to you. Instead, handle upset customers on the phone by using the above tips. By doing so, you will bring yourself peace of mind, for sure. But, who knows, you might even land yourself a new client.


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