How to handle customer complaints effectively: USING CAPS IN CHAT

When learning how to handle customer complaints effectively, you have to be prepared for the customer typing in all caps. 

Dealing with these customers, especially on live chat, is an art. Some times customers have a problem and need to blow off some steam, and they're going to blow that steam off in the face of the first person they can reach on live chat. 

Is it fun? No. Does it happen? Yes, some times. Can they be reasoned with? Absolutely.

An Olark user recently asked me the following: "If you had a customer who was talking to you in all caps and that customer clearly isn't mad, would you ask him to politely turn off caps?"


My response? "No. I would continue the conversation and not call attention to the fact that the customer was using all caps."

I was a bit surprised to be asked this question. After one full year of Olarking, averaging 25 hours per week talking to Olark users, this was the first time this question had come up in conversation!

Since part of our mission here at Olark is to teach and inspire -- to help you create happy customers -- I wanted to share the reasoning behind my response.

Is the customer actually upset?

In this scenario, I would treat the customer the same as any other customer, and proceed as though they were not using all caps. Why?

Well, first remember not every customer conversation you handle will be a complaint. If they're not actually angry or "shouting," then there could be any number of reasons why they're using all caps:

  • They could be short on time
  • They could prefer the look of all caps
  • They could work in a profession where it's common to use all caps (architects, engineers, cartoonists)
  • They could have a visual impairment and find all caps easier to read
  • They could find it easier/faster to type without pausing to find the shift key on their keyboard

My advice is to let the customer be themselves, and to carry on with business as usual. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were a slow typist and preferred to type in all caps, would you want someone telling you to stop doing that?

Disclaimer: I sometimes will use all lowercase letters in the interest of helping as many customers as quickly as possible. Please don't chide me for that either! ;-)

How to handle customers that are complaining

DO be aware of the customer's emotional state. If they are mad, then they'll appreciate you spending time with them working to resolve their issue.

How to handle customer complaints effectively? Imagine a zen setting. This is an image of a Japanese garden to help calm you.Photo by pepe nero on Unsplash

If they are mad and are using all caps to convey emphasis, telling them to "stop shouting" is not going to help -- it will probably have the opposite effect.

Or revisit some of our other articles that share tips on how to handle customer complaints effectively:

Hope that helps! Any other tips I might have missed?

Check out relevant topics on: Customer Support

Lindsay Elia

Read more posts by Lindsay Elia

Lindsay has been Olarking since 2012, vegan since 2007, living in San Francisco since 1999, and on the internet since 1994.