Useful Tips

If the buyer is rude: code phrases that put the customer in their place


The co-author of this article is Michael R. Lewis. Michael R. Lewis is a Texas-based former corporate manager, entrepreneur, and investment advisor. He worked in business and finance for over 40 years.

The number of sources used in this article is 26. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.

Most people, whose work is more or less connected with the service sector, at some point encounters a rude customer. Sometimes customers are impatient with the employee, some are upset due to inconveniences, and some are just rude. Whether customer behavior is justified or not, it can be incredibly difficult for an employee to cope with rudeness. Knowing how to defuse the situation will help you feel happier and more comfortable in the workplace, regardless of your profession.

Question-answer on the topic

If the buyer is rude, this causes a tension among consultants. And in our company this, unfortunately, is not uncommon. Recently, we have got a profitable but conflicting buyer. He is openly rude to managers. It seems that he considers this style of communication acceptable. Employees are nervous, refuse to negotiate with him. Nevertheless, I do not want to lose this customer. Tell us how to work with such a client.

When the buyer is rude, in most cases, it seems that the "boor" wants to humiliate you. But you, most likely, are not even interested in him. His behavior, as a rule, solves his own problems. Therefore, in order for communication to be effective, find out the motives of the conflicting buyer and, on this basis, choose one approach or another to resolve the conflict with the buyer.

Imaginary kings

These are arrogant people who always and almost with everyone behave “in a boorish way”. The reason is self-doubt. This type is more common among middle managers, lower-level employees (secretaries, security guards, cleaners), business owners who did not create it themselves, but received it as a gift. Such arrogance is associated with a mismatch between the real and the desired state of affairs (the level of claims in people of this type is much higher than their position in the organizational structure).

How to be. Such people are usually greedy for flattery and love when they emphasize their achievements. Therefore, moderate use of compliments, emphasize the status and importance of the interlocutor.

Code Phrases: “I see that you are a professional in your field”, “I think this will be the best option. Tell me as a specialist, is that so? ”

How to talk with a dissatisfied customer

Let's check how it works.

All that you say to the angry person, first of all, should help him cope with emotions and defuse the situation. If you manage to calm him down, consider that you have taken a huge step towards a constructive dialogue.

There are 4 types of dissatisfied customers that we identified in the process. We offer you a list of acceptable phrases for each of them. Of course, each client is unique, so sometimes you have to combine the proposed phrases. Now we will understand everything in detail

This type of dissatisfied customers is not without reason called exactly that. He likes to literally “burden” you with his problems and discontent. He does not like any little thing in the company that you represent.

Although the real essence of the problem may not be at all in this. It is likely that this person suffers from some personal experiences, he feels bad, and so he is trying to make everyone around feel bad.

Call center operators find it difficult to deal with such people. Because even if you propose an optimal solution, something will still not suit him.

To make the truck slow down (stopping it still will not work), do not follow his lead. If he realizes that he provoked your discontent or made you change your cheerful tone to deliberately slow, he will know that he broke you.

Do not give him a reason to think so - bend your line. Try to speak with him in a friendly and confident manner, as it was when you picked up the phone and introduced yourself.

Yes, it will be difficult, but it will reduce your torment. The “truck” will understand that it did not succeed in getting you out, will solve its problem and quickly hang up the phone. He simply will not want to spend his time on you if it turns out that you are not being fooled by provocation.

In a conversation with the “truck” use phrases that will allow you to reach an excellent result. Try to repeat them several times throughout the conversation:

  • I’m sorry to have caused you inconvenience ...
  • As a solution, can I offer you ...?
  • Right now I can help you as follows ...
  • It is valuable for us to receive feedback from you ...
  • Can I call you back after 1 hour to make sure the problem is resolved?


A person can behave "in a boorish way" when he has problems (in business, in his personal life). For example, the procurement director fears that he may be removed from office, hence unreasonable claims and requirements for partners, most often expressed in a “boorish” attitude or an unreasonable negative assessment of the quality of their product or work with customers.

How to be. Remember that this is a temporary mood (although it may drag on for several months). When the partner’s affairs get better, cooperation will return to normal. Moreover, he may be ashamed of his behavior. In this case, try to do everything possible to smooth the situation: establish informal relationships on social networks, have lunch together.

Code Phrases: “Did something happen to you?” How can I help you? ”,“ Let's have some coffee and think about the problem. ”

Fighter for justice

Malfunctions do happen. There is no getting away from this. Sometimes even large companies are faced with the fact that their employees provide customers with not the best service and miss some points.

These are the “egregious” cases that a fighter for justice will tell you. It is also important to communicate with such clients competently so that their discontent is not splashed out into the network, to the media and does not attract any unpleasant consequences for the company.

If you had to deal with this type, do everything to make a person understand how important it is for you to hear his opinion:

  • Thanks so much for letting us know ...
  • I'm sorry that you were inconvenienced ...
  • I understand how you feel ...
  • Thank you for your patience ...
  • Adequate measures will be taken immediately ...

You will recognize this person from the first seconds of a conversation. He speaks in elevated tones and is not shy in expressions.

He may well pass on to personal insults. Therefore, even a person with a reinforced concrete psyche is not obliged to endure this. There is a certain standard for call center operators: three times to warn a rude person that you do not intend to listen to insults and help solve his problem when he sets it out calmly and without obscene words.

If after 3 warnings a person does not relent, the call center operator has every right to hang up. However, it’s worth trying to say a few cheeky phrases that will help him calm down.

But here the operator’s skill to remain calm even under such a pressure of negativity is also important. Naturally, no problem justifies the rudeness of the client. But it will be completely wrong and unprofessional to answer him in the same tone.

In addition to the phrases you use, take on arms even those that will help you in “taming” very emotional clients:

  • I really understand your discontent, but I do not have to listen to it in the expressions that you use now ...
  • I will do everything in my power to help you ...
  • You seem too upset. How will it be more convenient for you to continue the conversation: by e-mail or online chat?
  • I'm sorry you are so upset. Do you want me to call you back when you calm down a bit?
  • Sorry, but if you continue to talk to me in similar terms, I will be forced to stop this conversation.

Conscious Manipulators

There are people who knowingly “are rude”, thus knocking out favorable conditions for cooperation. This is a feature of purchasers of large retail chains - even after a change of position, they continue to have a similar manner of communication.

How to be. Try to extinguish the conflict. Rephrase the question posed in a "boorish" tone, calmly and without emotion ("That is, you want to say that ..."). Do not put the boor in place - he will find a dozen new ways to provoke a conflict. In some cases, it is better to refuse, firmly and adamantly (“We have great respect for your company, but we won’t work on such conditions”).

Code Phrases: "Why should we accept your terms?", "Argument your position."

4. The blackmailer

Sometimes they confuse him with impudence. Although if the impudent person seeks to insult you and make you lose your balance, the blackmailer’s goal is different. He longs for reassurance through your fear. He just needs to scare you.

In this he has no equal. Surely you have heard various threats addressed to you. But when they sound on the phone, it is clear that they are empty. Nevertheless, call center operators often follow the blackmailer’s perception of his threats.

Do not react, because your fear is exactly what such a client needs. Neither a solution to the problem, nor a constructive dialogue with you - all this is useless to him. There are a couple of “bombs” in your arsenal that will help neutralize the blackmailer. It is likely that if you react completely different from what he expected, the caller will quickly retire.

Remember that however you are talking to a client of your company. And customers are the main source of her profit. So try to find a middle ground between the official tone and empathy with the client:

  • I understand how much trouble this problem caused you ...
  • Let me suggest ways we can fix everything ...
  • I recommend you (insert the desired action) so that I can immediately offer you a sequence of further actions ...
  • I will be glad to help you ...
  • In order to start solving the problem as soon as possible, I ask you ...

People get angry for a reason. There is always a specific reason. This reason is not you personally or even the problem that your company delivered to the client. Surely, this incident only became the last straw that launched the explosive mechanism.

Anyway, be restrained, professional, sincere and always try to do your best to help a person. If you do everything right, even the most dissatisfied customer in the world will turn anger into mercy, thank you, and hang up with satisfaction. And if he does not thank, then he is simply an ill-bred rude.