5-Step Process for Handling Profanity

phone that has a angry emoji

A while back, Lisa Rike gave some great information about how to deal with difficult customers in our Free LIVE! Webinar Handling Difficult Callers.

Recently, Heather Bond emailed us a question about profanity and we want to share the answer.

“I enjoyed your webinar about how we can change the way a difficult call can be handled. At the very end a gentleman asked about how to deal with customers using profanity, being abusive, etc, and you said that it might have to end in disconnection and that we should have a procedure in place for this type of situation.

Can you recommend a procedure for this? I work in a home owners association, and have had people use profanity, call me a liar and hang up on me because I do not do exactly what they wanted. I am alone in the office for most of the day, so I cannot ask them to talk to my supervisor. Do you have recommendations?”

Thanks, Heather. That is a great question.

The 5-step process I mentioned in the webinar is used when a caller is launching a personal attack on the Rep. That may or may not include profanity. A personal attack is when the caller is threatening to the Rep. As we know, there are some callers who use profanity and it isn’t necessarily a personal attack, it’s just the way the caller talks.


  • When a caller is aggressive on the phone, the first thing to do is to use an empathetic, concerned and firm voice tone and say something that has the potential to start deflating the caller’s emotions. You could say something like: “Oh, this sounds like a frustrating situation”, or “I’m glad you called us about this”, or “I am so sorry that XYZ happened. Let’s take a look at this”.
  • Then ask questions and talk about the situation. Stay away from addressing the personal attack.
  • If the caller refuses to have a cooperative conversation, we recommend warning the caller that you will disconnect the call.
  • If the caller continues the personal attack, simply say that you will disconnect the call.
  • Once the call is disconnected, there are three important things to do:
    • Document the conversation
    • let a supervisor know of the situation if applicable
    • let it go.

Use the 54 Second Breath or some of the other techniques that we discuss in the Free LIVE! Webinar Emotional Rebound. You’ll be glad you did!

~ Lisa Rike

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