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How would you handle a rude customer?

This question has been answered 7 times by professional recruiters and hiring managers. View their answers below.

When you work in customer service, you will often come across rude individuals. It's the name of the customer service game, unfortunately. Seeing as it's unavoidable, the interviewer wants to know that you can handle such a situation with professionalism. Give an example of a time that you had to deal with a challenging customer situation. Be sure to include the positive outcome.

Some ways that you can efficiently handle a rude customer:

- Remain kind, polite, and pleasant
- Actively listen to their grievances
- Apologize for the situation
- Maintain a neutral tone of voice
- Avoid taking anything they say, personally

Admin answer example
"When I have a rude customer, I am sure to listen until they are finished talking. It's important to hear someone out, especially when they are angry. I find that once someone feels heard, they are more likely to calm down and work towards a solution."
Baker answer example
"I realize that not everyone can be pleased, however; I always do my best to keep my composure and treat everyone the same. If a customer is rude, I will ask them how I can make them happy. That will usually calm them down a bit. In some situations, I have suggested to very rude customers that they find another bakery who perhaps could meet their needs better. I am accommodating but also will not tolerate anyone abusing my staff."
Basic answer example
"When I was working as a bartender, I handled many rude customers who were also intoxicated, which always adds a challenging twist! I made sure to let anything rude they said to slide off my back like it was nothing. I just kept smiling, and doing my job! I still handle rude customers this way. Smile, and move on, disallowing any hurt feelings."
Manager answer example
"I have thick skin when it comes to customers. This resilience to rude allows me to remain calm kind, and polite while they unload their feelings. Also, it's amazing what a warm smile will solve when a customer is rude to your face. Try it - it's nearly impossible to be mean to someone who is smiling at you!"
Marketing answer example
"I keep a very close eye on my customers, so I do not come across upset or upset individuals too often, but when it does, it's a doozy. My approach is to remain neutral, actively listen, and avoid interrupting in any way. When they conclude speaking, I will repeat to them saying, 'If I understand correctly, what is upsetting you most is A, B, and C.' Using this approach, they feel heard which is all most people want."
Retail answer example
"Rude customers are a given in the retail industry, and I have faced my fair share of them. I will outright ask a customer if there is anything I can do to make them more comfortable, happier, or how I can deliver their expectations this time around. When the customer is aware that I am willing to rectify the situation they are much more likely to level with me."
Usher answer example
"I do not recall such an experience, however in such a situation I would remain calm and professional as I must ensure to adequately represent the company at all times. I would calmly listen to the customer so he/she has a chance to be heard, and then would do my very best to assist him/her in a timely fashion. Should I be unable to solve his/her issues, I would immediately get in touch with my superior, or a more experienced colleague should my superior be unavailable."

View user-submitted Answers

How would you handle a rude customer?
Stay calm and positive and try to help them with what they are looking for.
Remain kind and friendly and treat them with respect.
I would abide by what the protocol dictates for my position in the most kindest of ways.
I am going to remain calm and try to help him with his problem and make sure to make him happy and satisfy before he goes out of the store.
I would try as much as possible to help make their day better.
I would follow starbucks standards when it came to dealing with a rude customer. I would smile and make eye contact and make sure that their order was up in a timely manner and check in with them before they left that their order was made perfectly.
I would simply keeping smiling, bring a positive and calm vibe to the customer and just simply help them in anyway I can in a nice way.
Find out what what making the customer upset and how to make them leave the store with a smile on their face.
I would apologize and do my best to listen and understand where they are coming from.
I will stay friendly and give my best service to the customer.
Depends. If they're still requesting something I know how to do (or have permission to do), I will try and keep calm and handle their request, since I know they won't be here forever. If it's something I DON'T know how to do, I'll ask someone who does to handle it.
I would be well mannered and calm in handling the situation, and see what I could do to help them and fix the problem.
Be calm and listen to them first, then apologise and find the solution that keep them happy and return to the store for the future.
I would act in accordance to the Starbucks employee rules/code of conduct. If a situation were to escalate I would get the assistance of a manager.
I would listen to them, try and offer a solution to their problem, ask the manager to offer a solution.
It depends in what ways of rude is he.
I would try my best to calm them down and listen to what their dissatisfactions are, and make sure to fix whatever went wrong.
I think I will smile to him/her even he is rude to me, and satisfy his/her requirements.
Staying polite, and providing good customer service regardless.
Assume the best. Maybe they have had a really bad day and my interaction with them might be the only opportunity for a friendly face they have that day.
I would calmly and nicely listen to their complaint, assure them that I am going to do everything I can to solve their issues and then look for a solution.
I would try my best to calmly help them and if I can’t handle it I would bring a manager into the situation.
I think that I would handle it by seeing if I could calmly help them, if it looks like I can't handle it, I would bring a manager into the situation.
I will talk to them the kindest attitude as posible and do whatever I can for them to have a legendary service.
I would not let their attitude affect me I would still treat them nicely and friendly and thank them for coming with a sincere smile.
I would calmly ask them what the issue is and listen attentively while calm and collected.
I would listen to their complaint and if I can resolve it myself, I will, and if they have many complaints an want to speak with someone higher up, I will refer them to the manager because they sometimes just want to make sure that the manager knows their complaints.
Keeping in mind that rude people are everywhere so I have to keep a steady mind and continue to do my job with excellent customer service.
Just continue to be kind and handle their order in a calm manor. It would be worse to be rude back, because they could feel attacked and dissatisfied with the service. Whereas being kind would give them nothing to complain about.
I would handle them as if they were any other customer with respect and kindness.
Try to make them smile any way I could and make sure they keep coming back.
I would still serve them with a smile like any other customer.
Just because they are rude that doesnt mean they are necesarilly mean. Maybe they are going through a rough time. Maybe they just received some bad news. I wouldnt go as far as trying to understand why they are upset but I would be humble and nice and give them space to behave. I wouldnt confront them, I would just try to give them the best experience they could have at our coffee house.
I would report it to my shift supervisor if the customer continues to be rude to me; regardless the fact that I have still given my best. Or I cannot allow the rudeness from customer to hinder my sensitive spot at work.
I would calmy assist her the best way I can.
I will just approach the customer and talk to him politely ask the customer what is the problem and assist him immediately.
I would apologize for any inconveniences and do my best to fix the problem at hand.
I would handle the customer like a regular customer. I would nice, open ears, and understanding.
I handle a rude customer by simply keeping a positive attitude at all times and making sure that their stay at the restaurant is enjoyable.
I would calmly ask her what her issues are and how I can help them better. If They do not like my answers I would call my supervisor and ask for further direction.
I would smile and be kind to that individual, recognizing that each person goes through different experiences and have struggles all their own. I would answer any of their questions to the best of my knowledge and work so that they might hve a pleasant experience at my workplace.
I would make sure that I stay positive and calm, listen to what their problem is and do whatever I can to satisfy them, if that doesnt work I would ask if they would like to speak to the manager.
Keep calm and try to diffuse the situation and not escalate it.
I would stay calm, and let it go. If they have a problem I would listen to them and try to help them solve it.
I would do my best to please and fulfill their order correctly.
I would continue to treat them with respect, while working to take care of their order.
I would attempt to resolve the issue and refer them to the manager if necessary.
I would excuse myself for my mistakes but, if they go overboard I would tell the manager.
By remaining calm, dont take it personally.
I would sit quietly and listen to his feedback. I would apologize if it was a mistake done on my part and tell the customer I will get his/her orders done well.
Most of the time, rudeness is due to how their ay is going, so I would start off by asking them how there day is and try to make their experience a more positive one.
I would handle a rude customer in a polite manner and provide excellent customer service.
I would quietly listen to all of their complaint and then try to take whatever steps necessary to make that customer happy.
I would first apologize for anything they perceive to be wrong, and then I would try to find a solution to the problem, and try to make sure the rest of their experience a good one.
I would be as accommodating as possible, and try to make the customer feel better for the day, and about their purchase as well.
If I'm sure I am right, I won't give up to communicate.
Try to brighten their day! Maybe a cup of coffee and a smile is all they need.
First, I'll remain calm, listen to my customer, apologize and try my best to make it right. I had encountered one before, he wanted his application processed and before we begin with his transaction, we require him to pay first the processing fee as new company's policy. The client got mad and kept on shouting while everyone was staring at us. He wanted us to process it and he'll just pay it after. I explained to him that we need to follow the new policy. Since he still insisted, I offer him to pay at least a down payment and he can pay the balance after. He agreed with this. After we processed, he visited our office to pick-up his passport and pay the balance. He apologized for his rudeness before and I told him that we totally understand. He still remains one of our loyal customers.
Be polite to them as to take their orders and be attentive to their request.
Listen to them attentively while staying polite, calm and nice. I would be appolegetic and remain professional while trying to find a solution.
I would do my best to accommodate the customer and if they continued being rude I would maintain my kind/positive attitude.
Being patient is always the best. Not reacting too much is also key. Avoiding excess conversation and trying to get on with the order as well helps.
Continue to treat them with respect and give them excellent customer service.
I would try to be a polite and calm as possible, ask customer her/his order and give it to them. If you be rude you might loose buisness.
Do what they asked me to do and treat them like I would treat any customer.
A rude customer is just like any other customer. Your goal is to make them happy and doing all you can do for them.
I would try to calm them down first and help them with the issue as best as possible.
I would kill them with kindness and never bite back. Customer service jobs require you to be kind regardless of how the customer is treating you.
I would stay calm and talk slow and low to the customers as a way to try and calm them down, I would also apologize to the customer and empathize with them about the situation.
Politely and respectful, sympathizing with their concerns and offering to find a manager for them.
I would try to deal with them myself as quickly and respectfully as possible. And try stand by the customer is always right, but if the situation seems to hard for me to handel I will refer them to a manager or a assistant manager.
I would keep calm and polite and try to help the customer with their requests to the best of my abilities in a professional manner.
I would handle a rude customer with kindness and make sure that they know that thier business is appreciated.
With respect and kindness.
I would be professional, friendly, and it is were to escalate, I would call a manager over.
Any customer rude or not should be handled with the utmost respect and regard. Always try to resolve the problem if there is any and if a solution cannot be found then go to the manager for assistance.
First and foremost, I would remain calm and put aside my own personal feelings. I would then listen to the customer, actively sympathize, apologize, and find a solution to the problem.
I would stay polite and still have a smile on my face and make the rest of their time waiting as enjoyable as I can make it.
I would follow the protocol but if I feel I can no longer handle the situation calmly, I would pass down to the supervisor.
I would remain calm, have a smile on my face, and continue to take their order no matter how rude they are.
I would politely tell him or her that we can talk about this in amore civilized manner.
By being as polite and courteous as possible, so as to diffuse the tense situation.
I would handle a rude customer by being patient and never taking it personally. I would try and brighten their mood by always smiling and pehaps complimenting them.
Do the best of my ability to get that customer satisfied and if I could not complete the goal I will get him someone who can.
I would be very polite with them and give them the most respect and help them with whatever they needed.
I would keep my cool and calmly ensure that they are treated as any Starbucks customer should be treated; with patience and kindness.
I would first let them explain to me their concerns, and address the situation immediately, I would then do whatever I could to make the customer happy. If unable to do so, I would get a manager involved.
Listen to what they are saying; eye contact and level voiced. Make it right.
I would handle them like any other customer, with respect, grace, and dignity.
I would stay calm and polite, and not say anything to provoke them more. I would just remain professional.
I would try to quickly send the customer away with the drink. I would also ask the customer to leave if the customer is being very rude. I would also confront my manager.
I would kill them with kindness and if there was a further issue with them I would consult a manager.
Depending on the situation I would try to offer the best response possible to ensure the customer feels their needs are met. It is my duty to provide excellent customer service regardless of the way I am being treated. However, if this customer becomes hostile or in any way dangerous, I would report it or perhaps ask them to leave the store, but only in extreme situations.
I would ask them why they are upset, listen to them, and then offer to remake their drink to the way they want it.
I would simply keep calm and assist them to the best of my ability, and in the rare chance if things happen to go beyond my control, I would call in the manager or person in charge at that time.
I have personal experience with rude customers. I would try my best to resolve the issue while maintaining composure.
Ask if there is anything we can do, make another drink, get them another snack.
I would keep a good attitude and smile.
I would act calmly and friendly, do anything to make customer happy.
This is something that I am relatively use to, I have learned from expirience that the only way to handle a rude customer is to stay calm and collected. Being rude back does not get you anywhere it only escalades the situation. So I would listen attentively to what they are asking for and provide that the best way I can.
I would quickly take their order and remain patient.

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