How to Handle Aggressive Customers

In Brief...

Customers come with all kinds of personalities. But no matter what kind of customer you are dealing with, the key is to treat him or her professionally and with respect. The following provides strategies for handling aggressive customers.


Assertive customers are often mistaken for aggressive customers. Assertive customers are direct, but generally much calmer when asking for something. They like quick resolution and direct answers and will not spend a lot of time chatting, but they are not apt to be rude or obnoxious.

Characteristics of aggressive customers include:

  1. They often speak loudly.
  2. They can be very demanding.
  3. They might even resort to slamming doors or pounding on a desk.

Strategies for working with aggressive customers include:

  1. Focus on getting aggressive customers to calm down before they escalate into anger.
  2. Don't focus on the things you cannot do, but rather on the things you can control. For example, if you cannot resolve the issue the aggressive customer brings to you, do NOT tell that customer you can't help them and that he or she needs to talk to someone else. Instead, calmly tell the customer that you will connect him or her to someone who can help them. Then do it. Don't expect the customer to make the call to the other person.

Related Training

Author: Janie Sullivan

Janie Sullivan, MBA, MAEd, has been teaching adult learners for over 20 years. She has taught online over 15 years, specializing in writing, communications, and small business applications. Janie directs the Center for Writing Excellence where she offers writing, editing, and formatting services for writers. She has been published in several newspapers and magazines as well as multiple online sites. She teaches communication, business strategy, leadership, and management courses. Janie has published a book "Develop and Deliver an Online Class." This is the third book she has written about writing and teaching online. She also has published a novel and an anthology of short stories.