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Tell me about a time when you had to address an angry customer. What was the problem and how did you resolve it?

9 Answer Examples | Learn how to answer this question from professional recruiters

How to Answer

The interviewer wants to know that you can handle stressful or uncomfortable situations in a professional manner. Keep your answer simple and precise. Stay away from long drawn out stories. Briefly, describe a time when you resolved a customer service issue. Highlight your ability to remain patient and rational.

Tell me about a time when you had to address an angry customer. What was the problem and how did you resolve it?
Answer example

"I worked in a retail customer care center and had to navigate angry customer experiences more times than I would have liked. People who are upset want to be heard and respected. I would listen, empathize and reassure the customer that I am there to support them and resolve the matter. Communication and reassurance are important throughout the process. If I needed to check on an order or get back to the customer, I would set expectations to explain what I was doing and when they would hear back. I am proud to say that I have successfully turned more detractors into promoters than anyone else in our organization."

Admin

"As an Administrative Assistant, I address angry customers on a daily basis. They are upset about being asked to hold. When this happens, I 'kill them with kindness' but profusely thanking them for their patience and letting them know they now have my full attention. I would say this method works 99% of the time."

Manager

"I once was a customer service manager at a call center. I had many angry customer calls, but one, in particular, I remember well. The customer had ordered a dish set, but when it arrived, it was missing half the pieces. She had unfortunately set on hold with us for over 30 minutes waiting to be helped and was irate when I told her that our policy was that she had to send the entire order back, then we would issue a refund, and she could reorder it. She just wanted us to ship the missing pieces. She ended up getting a refund and did NOT reorder from us. She likely never will again. I did make sure she received her refund, and I spoke with our corporate head office about the long wait times and the possibility of changing our return policies. It was not a good situation, but I made the best of it."

Marketing

"Just last week, a customer called our design team because he was unhappy with a particular design we were creating for him. I reassured him that we would modify the design to his liking before finalizing the project. We spoke further and, in the end, he was just feeling uncomfortable not being a part of the decision-making every step of the way. With any customer complaint I remain patient, listen to their concerns, and reassure the customer we would do anything within reason to satisfy their requests."

Retail

"A specific instance relates to the rollout of our new return policy, and for the first time, we requested an ID when making a return without a receipt. One customer, after being asked for ID for a return assumed it was a race issue, and she was irate. I had to intervene with the very frazzled employee and take a step back, explain the "why" of the new policy, and ensure her it has zero to do with her, but was a company-wide, country-wide policy. After taking time to hear her concerns, validate why she would be upset, and explain it all in context, she happily handed over her ID and returned and thanked me for my patience with her explosion."

Sales

"A client was delivered a damaged piece of goods that we sold him. For a $30,000 piece of inventory, he was understandably agitated. Within five minutes of receiving an irate email, I hopped on the phone with him to address the issue. I had my COO and Director of Operations, who handles problem resolution, in the room so he would feel that the issue was being taken care of by upper management. Through a 10-minute conversation, not only did we resolve his issue, buy back the piece of inventory, and have pick-up arranged for that very afternoon. We also piloted a new program with him to take the balance sheet risk off of him, which pleased him. So much, in fact, that he committed to buying another five pieces of inventory that same week."

Teacher

"I had a parent that was upset that their child experienced exclusion from Spanish class. This exclusion was due to their IEP and special services scheduling. The student went to speech and social work during my Spanish class. This fact didn't stop the parent from showing frustration with me, so I was sure to find time to sit down and speak with her, and show that I heard her frustration. I asked our principal to join us, and we were able to figure out a better schedule for the following semester that would allow her child to attend Spanish class as well as have his minutes in speech and social work per his IEP. By showing I understood her frustration and was willing to work with her, she immediately softened and was thrilled that we were so receptive to her concerns."

Bank Teller

"When lines are long, I like to ensure that everyone on the teller line has a smile on their face and apologizes for the delay when the customer gets to the counter. Most of the time, a friendly greeting and recognition of the inconvenience are enough."

Receptionist

"One time, a customer was yelling and cursing about how it was taking too long for his turn to be accommodated. I knew that his behavior was due to frustration so I didn't take it personally. Instead, I apologized and gave him the opportunity to reschedule. He declined, so I offered him refreshments and books to read to keep his mind off waiting. He later apologized for his behavior and thanked me for being considerate. When it comes to handling unhappy customers, I believe it's always important to keep your cool, be friendly, and try to see things from the customer's perspective"

More Interview Questions

View user-submitted Answers

Tell me about a time when you had to address an angry customer. What was the problem and how did you resolve it?
1.
Scotti not getting his meds back.
2.
There was a customer that was not happy about giving her pet so many shots. The customer explained not your gonna hurt my dog no she is gonna get sick. I told the customer last time she got shots for her pet, was her pet in pain or was it sick, the customer explained no but I will not let you give that many at the same time. I gave her the option to give them separate. She was happy with that and was able to give her dog shots separately.
3.
I hit him so much and kill.
4.
Customer lost 500 dollars . Complaining that slots don't pay here and was never coming back . Playing is all about luck. Lots of people win too.
5.
Staples- Angry customer came in and started demanding product becasue we change the store around so much. Greeted him with a smile and noticed he had a list with him so I asked if I could see the list and located all the products he needed. Talking calmly with the customer-guy went to my manager and complimented me on my service.
6.
When I worked for avon I had to deal with a angry customer that did not like the product because it did not work I gave the customer back what she paid for the item.
7.
The problem was she was having a stressful day, I help where I can and smile, she eases up and goes on her way.
8.
- A customer called to confirm appointments with practitioner, and they didn't appear to be booked. He became highly irritated and rude. His levels of anger were very high, as the offices were a very busy place and it takes a long period of time to see a practitioner. - As the customer was yelling, I took note of what he was saying and the points he was emphasising. I was able to understand that he was in a larger amount of pain. Have accepted fault for the appointments not being booked, I offered the customer (who was a long standing customer) a complimentary massage with a massage therapist on site, until we could fit him in at his desired time. This pacified the customer, and was a way in which I could suggest alternative appointment dates for him, which the understanding that the reason he was angry was because he was in pain.
9.
PPB: She was made that we only accepted even exchanges or store credit. No returns.
10.
Once the gust was very angry because the food was tasteless, I went to table I said good evening sir, my names Mohamed am the chef in charge, I heard form the captain that food is tasteless, I do apologies, would you like to make another dish but he refused, then I offer him kindly accept my invitation and I will cook for you, the gust accept my apologies and my invitation and he was very happy from my respond to him in the end I give him my business card please fill comfortable to contact mt for any issues.
11.
Customer received an item they didn't totally understand how to use. With a calm demeanor, was able to show customer how to use item and what results they could expect.
12.
First, I asked the customer if there is anything I could do to make their experience more pleasurable and offered suggestions.
13.
I customer came into the office looking for a explanation to why everyone was answering his questions he need. I remain claim and listened to what he had to say. Asking he to communicate with me in the lobby area, he start to relax because he saw someone face-to-face and was actually listening to him. I informed him I was sorry about his situtation and I was here to help him. I also gave him my email and told him is he needed anything else don't hesitate and contact me. The outcome was satisfaction because I was able to understand and help someone that was really ineed of help.
14.
Customer that wanted olives for free on a pizza, and a stamp. Walked out, I followed him out, and got his whole family to come back in.
15.
A patrons child had just lost his new bathing suit or someone stole it while he was in the locker area. I gave the parent a 50% of coupon to purchase a new suit.
16.
Customer received an sms regarding her acc notifying that she's in arrears customer payment only updated day after due date which means payment was still hanging but knowing head office if it doesn't reflect they start notifying- outcome very happy customer after I foned head office and they actually explained to her exactly what I told her when making online payment it will only reflects after 3 working days and that she just have to ignore the sms if payment has already been made.
17.
We were running a test for him and he was complaint about the result, my supervisor gave him time to call back so we could have another test done which we did but he called again when my supervisor was out of the office and I never interrupted when he was talking and I assured him we are going to give him we are hoping for a better because the test is been done in a new chamber.
18.
The lady who lost her food in nursing lounge.
19.
First of all I handle this situation . Then out of control this then I tell my superviors.
20.
One time I receive a call from a customer who was in the airport and didn't receive his car. I kindly asked him to give me 5 minutes and that I will call him back. The problem was that somehow the reservation didn't get to as and we were also fully booked, so I called immediately another car rental and send him the car in the airport. In the mean time a called the costumer and apologize for the inconvenience and offer him a free day for extra full insurance.
21.
During my internship we had a variety of customers walk through those front doors daily. Some who were very knowledgeable about our policies and procedures, others who weren't. One day, I was assisting a customer who had just returned her rental and only needed a receipt. After pulling up her reservation, and going over the charges with her she was irate that we charged her $18.99/day for a damage waiver (which a protection product). She insisted that someone told her that the charge was one-time fee; however, after talking to my co-worker who put her into the vehicle, he said that he went over the policy with her 3 times. She was furious, because she didn't fully understand how everything worked, so I sincerely apologized to the customer, and got my manager to step in to mediate the issue.
22.
A customer purchased our products based on what the salesperson identified would help to increase their productivity and efficiency. The product didn't exactly do that and they were very upset. I called and walked them through their issues. I followed it up with an on-site visit "while I was in the area" and made sure they were satisfied with the results.
23.
I will ask what is you are problem and I will slove it.
24.
Last weekend I was was a referee for a kickboxing competition. The competitors and coaches often put in months of preparation for these events. The events are amateur events and have very strict rules to prevent anyone from getting hurt. I had the task of disqualifying a competitor when he used an illegal technique and this is almost always disagreed with by the coaches in that specific corner. I had to stick to my decision despite screaming coaches instructing them that their competitors used illegal moves and that results in disqualification. They left I satisfied and we continued with the competition.
25.
In my current job, we opened at 11:00am on a sunday and this customer was the first one in the store. He approached me in aggressive way, he put out his hand and handed me a piece of paper that was his voucher for a sight test. I didn't know what he wanted to do with it, I was just standing there asking him what it was, how may I help him? he chucked the paper at me, I asked him do you have an appointment, are you here to collect your glasses? he then left and went another staff member. The problem was not resolved as he acted the same way to my colleague and he ended up walking out.
26.
In retail had customer who believed that they where charged incorrectly. We went through each transaction so that they could see that they where not over charged. Customer appreciated the fact that we went over each transaction.
27.
When I myself had forgotten to give his assurance and when he came back, he was red with anger. But I apologized. And I gave him his assurance. And then everything was ok.
28.
I was working at the Dollar Warehouse and a customer was upset that we had to keep small items behind the counter. I apologized and told the customer it was store policy and I'll be happy to help when they were ready for check out.
29.
I have been in a situation where I had to contact a company, and speak to the manager in relation to a declined direct debit. This was in relation to ongoing consulting services, hence why there was a direct debit and my quick action in the way of find a resolution. When I was able to speak with the individual responsible for accounts, they were very angry when told that the direct debit had been declined, in addition to the fact that we had a dishonour fee. I was able to attain the information from the client that bank accounts had changed, and we had not been notified. I could understand from the clients perspective that it would be a shock, and some people reactions are to be angry. However, once e discover the discrepancy, the client claimed immediately. I assume the anger was more out of fear than anything else. I quickly changed details, and debited the account for the amount owed. The customer was happy that the situation was relieved quickly, and I implemented a protocol wherein we check our customers details periodically depending on the type of account.
30.
I have this happen on a regular basis - either being on hld a long time or being transferred too many times. I proactively bridge on a hld time. On multiple transfers I acknowledge the frustration and let them know it is my pet peeve as well. If I need to transfer I let them know that I will stay with them until I get them to the right place.
31.
Not happy with their accommodations .. After discussing what acually was the issue, address it and make it right.
32.
I was working at BBW this past holiday season. During the holidays, we get extremely busy: lines are long, many people are in the store, we are short stocked on items. That day I was working as a cashier. It was busy as usual and the manager on duty told us not to give out extra bags because we were extremly low. So low we had to borrow from our partenering business, VS. So I rang up a customer and before she left she asked for extra bags to place her gifts in. I informed her that I would not be able to give her bags at the time because of our shortage. And she became angry and began to demand bags because she made a large purchase and they belong to her. With calmness, I told the customer to please wait a second as a talked to my manager to see if there is anything we can do for her. When the manager approved it I came back and asked her poiltly how many bags she would like and packed them up for her. Then I apologized for the inconvenience and thanked her for shopping with us. She left relieved and content. And we avoided creating a scene and losing a client.
33.
My uncle hauled my wood for me and working with family is never easy at sometimes and he came to get a aload one day and the previouse load he was alittle frustrated with how it was piled and there were a few logs that didnt get cut all the way through and he gave me some hell and I told him sorry I will work on it.
34.
In one instance we had a customer very angry and threatened to withdraw the contract if their performance problems are not solved. I told them we will give all our attentions and dailiy report to them regarding the improvements, On 10th day I had a good news for them and they started trusting the company as the problem turned out to be in 3rd party software.
35.
When busy upset about food.
36.
I approached the customer in a calm manner asked him what was the problem and it turned out he was mad cause the employee that was dealing with him ignored what the customer was wanting done and walked away and didn't continue helping the customer with the problem so I let the boss know I was gonna help the customer and give him the proper courtesy.
37.
I worked 6 months in call center, selling bank services, there people are everytime angry because this is how they react at the first call. I handle the problem with calm, trying to explain why I am calling them, and what benefits I give to .... In other way all the people talked to me.
38.
While working as a personal trainer at a facility where I was also in charge of the televisions in the cardio room, there was a news story that was showing very graphic photos of dead babies on screen. I involuntarily changed the station to met with whiplash by a patron on a piece of cardio equipment. They accused me of rigging what news stations and news articles were to be communicated. I immediately apologized and told them it my gut response to not have such horrible images shown and it triggered a ill feeling within me. The continued to feel is was rigging the news. I told them I would ask my supervisor if it was appropriate for the other 100 patrons in the facility. I contacted my supervisor immediately and they agreed with me. We were both able to talk with the patron and calm them down explaining that we need to please 100s of patrons at one given moment and having graphic images of killings is not the atmosphere we are trying to having in a facility where we are trying to encourage and motivate people to keep coming back. The matter was resolved.
39.
The problem was that the customers parcel is damaged and yet he have paid customer duties fee. I had to be polite and explain to him that the parcel was not insured there were no flagile sticker and the difference between customer duty fee and insurance fee. The customer was certified and we were both happy at the end.
40.
At BBW, during the holidays we get so busy that lines are almost out the door and we run out of products and even bags. Although, I was seasonal I worked in different positions. One time when I was working as cashier, it was one of those days that we were running very low on bags, so we couldn't really afford to give extra ones away as we usually do. As I was checking a customer out they asked me for extra bags. When I explained to them I would be unable to give her extra bags due to shortage of bags, she became very angry and upset, demanding that she is entitled to the bags because of her large purchase. I listened to her demands and told her I would try to get approval from the manager. I asked the manager in charge for approval to give more than the allowed amount of bags to hand out. At that point, I asked politely asked the client how many bags she needed, packed them for her, and apologized for the inconvenience and thanked her for shopping with us. Even though, we were short on bags, it was better to satisfy an angry customer than to lose a customer and to allow other shopping customers to see scene that was being created.
41.
When I was client facing in 2010 during the housing bubble, folks were crying in my office. I assured them we would find a solution to this issue. So we went over the plans ans deleted as many as the wants possible, coming up with a new reduced budget, that finished the house and got the finanaing approed.
42.
Once one of my colleague had to call a students home that your son is not in college today but he called the wrong students home as they had the same name. His parents become very angry they were saying that we d'not want to send our son to this college anymore. My manager and other staff were in meeting. So I had to handle the situation I tried to calm them and know what has happend as I was unaware of the situation. Finally I figured all out and applogizes and explained them that its a mistake on our part as there were two students with same name even the father name was also same. They also understood the situation and were calm then I refered them to the principal and they left not angry but happy.
43.
An attorney was trying to obtain a detail incident report. He had been to our office several times and dealt with the employees. He asked to speak with the supervisor. I went out & listened to his complaint. I explained our process & procedures & asked if could wait a few minutes. I scanned a copy of the report to our police attorney for review and authorization. Once it was authorized I printed a copy & delivered to him. He stated I need 2 more things. My name and a hug.
44.
Asked the first one was his address and sort it out soon as you can.
45.
The customer got very angry with the insurance company when they had made 3 payments together. I had to call the insurance company to rectify the problem and the outcome was the insurance company to reverse back the balanced amount.
46.
My uncle hauled wood for me and he came to get a load and my pile wasnt neat enough for him and there was a couple trees that didnt get cut all the way through he gave me alittle hell for it and I told him sorry man I will work on makeing the piles neater.
47.
Few weeks ago a customer returned dress slacks to 377, with plans of repurchasing appropriate size at our location. There was a misunderstanding in regards to payment of pants. I was blamed for a mistake that 377 had made. Collaborated with MIC to comp dress slacks as customer accommodation to keep situation from escalating.
48.
I can't think of a time, but if it ever happened, I would try to calm them down. If that didn't work, I would talk to some other co-workers to help work it out.
49.
Toilet overflow and float part of the room. Guest did not want to moved due to the location of the room and request to stay there not happy at all went he knew that was not other room available with the same view. We installed fans and dehumidifiers to dry the area affected until the evening to allow guest to have a quite night. Guest was so delightful and impress that we did all the necessary arrangements to solve the situation and avoid the inconvenience of moving.
50.
The problem was the customer was angry because he looked at walmart. Com and came to store because he saw we had it in stock, I informed him it was an online only. He became upset, but I spoke very calmly and softly and informed him of the pick up today offered. He smiled and apologized for getting angry. The outcome was he ordered what he needed and thanked me for taking time to explain everything to him.
51.
I was filling in the role for Home Deliveries team. So strange how no one wanted to deal with him. I called him, listened, and he undestood, and was calm.
52.
Patient called and wanted to leave our practice because she did not feel we were meeting her needs during her last appointment. This was something that was a surprise to the office. So I called her to clarify the situation and ask her what her concerns were and convey our apologies for any misunderstandings. The matter was cleared up and her and her husband stayed on as patients.
53.
I once had a patient upset because her food went missing from the nursing lounge I was able to identify why the patient was upset and received a meal voucher to give to patient from nurse manager.
54.
A customer got angry for the delay in the work completion, because of his new requirements, finally solved with the proper solution.
55.
If I attended the angry costemer then firstly I am traiying too cool down them and after that wants too low the reason why they are angry and I esove their problems.
56.
A customer at staples was very irrate after another technician restored her computer but forgot to save one of the users files. She verbally abused me for a few moments until I gathered her story and emotion. I politely expressed back to her those concerns and offered a sincere apology. I asked her what would help in this situation since said files had been wiped clean. After being addressed politely and hearing her story had been listened to she was open for a refund and left in a much better mood and thanked me for my patience with her.
57.
Last summer I was an intern at Northwestern Mutual and I worked as a Financial Representative. As part of my job I had to perform a high volume of cold calls and appointment settings. Throughout my internship I had to deal with some angry customers.
58.
One of our physicians was very angry because their patients insurance did not cover the LV. The patient complained and was upset with the doctor. Therefore the doctor was upset with Lifevest. I listened and told the physician I would get back with him the next day at 9:00 am. Because at the time I was blind as to why it was denied and I knew it would take investigation. The first thing I did was to find out why the patient was denied. Once I found out, I addressed the issue with the physician. It turned out that he just needed to sign a form for the insurance company. We got the form signed and everyone lived happily ever after.
59.
I try to make the customer to calm down and smile again. The order in then kitchen took long because of the stove was not working properly and they was lot of other orders. And I explain to the customer up until she understands.
60.
I didnt face this problem. Because I didnt handle any custome when I was working.
61.
A customer wanted to know why his car was not selling. A lot of the times a customer will not want to reduce a price on their car. I explained to them some price point information for their car and that it would sell quicker with our suggested price. I gave some info and stats on selling times with our suggested prices. The customer eventually compromised and lowered their initial price, and the car sold immediatly.
62.
Sometimes people complain and are mean and I ignore them.
63.
I failed to make it to work on time because I forgot the schedule had shifted back 30 minutes and I called the manager to let him know I was just a few minutes away. I found my lead for the day and let them know I was there and that I was sorry and hurried to get to work to make sure everything was ready for the guests when they arrived. During down time I again apologizd to my supervisor and my co-workers. And I felt incredibly embarrassed.
64.
I had angry customer because she had purchased petunias before they flowered and several were labeled as the wrong color. I first apologized for our mistake then told her I realized why she was upset. I offered her some larger petunias of the right color in hanging baskets where they could be planted in the ground in place of the other and would be the same size of the the other petunias that had grown larger over the time in the ground since they were planted a while before blooming. Customer Satisfied!
65.
A member of the public became agressive one night as we were doing our patrol of town. They were screaming and being abbusive over some sort of flying that had been posted through his letter box saying redcar beacons, I work to pay your wages and your not even needed. I was team leader so I kept my staff back and calmly said I am sorry you feel this was but we are redcar beacons the flyer has noting to do with us we have noting to do with the building. As for wages well we do this for free we dont recieve any money for our work we even supply free lolipops to which I offered him one, he laughed and appologised x.
66.
Yes we posted out the wrong implant component to a customer (wrong size) for his restoration job. Lucky they called as soon as they got it - we quickly called our supplier and got them to DHL it direct to the customer 'next day delivery' and covered all costs. It got there in time and we said customer could keep the other component.
67.
The guest complained about the time it took to make his sub. He was offered a free coupon on the spot to revisit our store again.

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