Angry customer? CARP

If you’re in business of any type, you’ve had to address a dissatisfied patron at some point in your experience. Whether you’re a business owner, manager, or customer service representative, you have felt the sting of an unhappy client. Using customer service trainer Robert Bacal’s simple system called CARP, outlined in his Defusing Hostile Customers Workbook, you can resolve the situation professionally and retain the client relationship.
CARP stands for:

  • Control
  • Acknowledge
  • Refocus
  • Problem-Solve


The first step is to be in control of the situation. That means not letting your customer’s anger influence your own behavior. That is, don’t get angry back.

The next step is to acknowledge your customer’s feelings. Be empathetic and make it clear that you understand that they’re upset.

Third, refocus the conversation on what’s most important: the actual problem at hand.

And finally, problem-solve: work to find a resolution to the customer’s complaint.”

Here’s a real example of a response I wrote to help my client turn their angry customer into a happy one, names and industries changed to protect the innocent 😉

Mr. Lively,
Thank you for your continued patronage to Homes R Us. It is very rewarding to have long term loyal clients such as yourself. 
I greatly apologize for the custom furniture discrepancies at hand. You’re absolutely right: The custom furniture should fit appropriately into the home, and I completely understand how frustrated you are. I’d be frustrated too!
Typically Homes R Us only works with custom furniture craftsmen experienced with the residential furnishing facet of carpentry to ensure the final product is customized specifically for the space and organization that family homes require to prevent such issues as this. 

Because we appreciate your loyalty to Homes R Us, and our history of working together, I made an exception for you and agreed to install your furniture vendor’s product into your home against my recommendations. It is unfortunate that this combination has resulted in frustration, as it is the goal of my company to streamline the home building and remodeling industry to make the experience an enjoyable one for our clients.
We’ve worked really hard to provide this great service, and strive to deliver high quality and welcoming homes for families. I believe that our 20+ years of experience in the industry, and extensive training allows my company to deliver a service of value. Because I sincerely want to help you resolve the issue involving the ill-fitting furniture that has been installed in your home, I waived the service call fee for our visit on <INSERT DATE>. 

With your trust, I look forward to the opportunity to apply my knowledge of this industry in the process of solving the problems at hand, should you choose to continue this relationship.

Thank you for your business thus far.
Warm Regards,
Homes R Us
The CARP concept can be applied to just about any dissatisfied customer situation in any industry. Reputation management is vital to the success of your company and is even more important to your marketing strategy than any lead generating medium. Most importantly, in all customer responses, humanize your brand – use empathy to relate to your customer’s feelings and respond the way you’d want to be responded to.

For more information about Cassidy Ann & Company visit