Why So Angry?
You’re calmly doing your work when your email client notifies you of a new message in your inbox. It’s from one of your clients. You open it. Suddenly, your vision is flooded by an incomprehensible combination of CAPS and seething remarks. You practically reel from the burst of negative energy that threatens to jump from the screen and smack you in the face. You have no idea what triggered this angry outburst. How do you respond?
If you’re a business person, I can guarantee you that eventually you will get an angry client. Even if you’re the top in your field, one day you will have to face an angry client and wonder how to handle it.
The first thing to keep in mind is client rage rarely has anything to do with you, it has to do with the angry client.
Before you worry about handling it, it’s important to break down the reasons why a client would act this way. Now, I’m not a psychologist, but I do know a bit about dealing with all sorts of people- it’s what I do every day. And in those experiences, I’ve learned a thing or two about why people respond the way they do. And now, I’m sharing them here with you.
It’s fairly simple; a person who acts with rage has problems dealing with their own emotions. A person who puts you down feels insecure about themselves and needs to put others down to feel better. Whatever you’ve done, even if you brought their company shattering to the ground, there’s no excuse for angry, abusive behavior.
Here’s my steps on how to effectively deal with angry or negative people, whether they’re clients or not.
- Take A Step Back. If you’ve just been hit by a wave of negative energy, the last thing you want to do is go charging in with a snapping response. Even if you think you’ll reply in a civilized tone, it’s better to step back and think things through. Not only will you cool down, you’ll have a chance to complete step 2.
- Figure Out What The Problem Is. Obviously your client found something they didn’t like. Figure out what it was, and find out if it was a misunderstanding, an error on your part, or just an excuse from the client to try to turn you into a punching bag.
- Understand Their Anger. People who act out in anger feel their actions are justified. To respond with anger because you feel justified in protecting yourself will not solve anything. In fact, most likely the other person will respond with more anger and feel further justification in the action. In order to prevent blood-letting, approach it with a positive note. Don’t take it personally, just be kind. Perhaps the client is fighting with their spouse. Maybe they found out their mother is sick. Perhaps they have a stomach ache. This doesn’t excuse their behavior, but responding to anger with anger only makes things worse.
- Diffuse The Anger With Calmness. I can tell you this has worked for me 100% of the time. When you’re angry at someone, and that person is being calm and kind back, it’s very hard to continue showing anger to them. If you did something wrong, apologize and let them know that you will fix it immediately. If it was an error on their part, kindly point it out to them. If there was no reason that you could find, tell them you’re sorry they’re upset, and that you’ll be happy to help them in whatever way you can if they could calmly tell you what was wrong.
- Teach Clients How To Treat You. Now that we’ve diffused the situation, let them know how to treat you. Anytime I deal with an angry person, I treat them with calmness and kindness. After we’re at a relaxed level, I let them know that in the future, anytime they need something of me, they need to deal with me on a calm level. This allows me to produce the highest quality of writing for them. Most people sheepishly agree, and they never treat me like that again.
- For Repeatedly Angry Clients. If you just come across an angry client who continuously throws negative energy your way, even after you’ve told them that you won’t deal with anger, then it’s time to let them go. Some people have so much anger and negativity inside of them, they don’t know how to behave differently. Don’t let them dump on you. Let them go, and work with people who will treat you with respect and calmness.
And overall use common sense. You’ll find yourself surrounded by people who behave the way you do. So make make sure you always conduct yourself with dignity and treat others the way you would want to be treated!
Talk to you soon,
P.S. Don’t give into replying with scathing comments, it might feel good for a mili-second, but it takes away from your professional image when you give into anger.