As I’m sure you can imagine, through our dispute resolution process, we work with a lot of people who are angry.A customer is angry because they feel they haven’t been treated well by a business, so they submit a complaint to us. Or, a businessperson has received a complaint that we sent to them looking for a response, and they are angry because they feel that they did everything possible to make the customer happy.Sometimes, the communication between a customer and business has broken down before either party comes to us – insults and accusations have flown back and forth. We do our best to step into the middle of an inflamed situation, and help both parties arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution, but it’s a lot more difficult when damage to the relationship has already been done.(As a side note, this is one of the real benefits of the service we offer; it is often easier to come to a resolution when working through an unbiased third party, because we aren’t directly involved, and can help both parties focus on facts, rather than emotion.)My point is this: insults, accusations, name-calling, and other kinds of emotionally-charged communication helps no one.As a customer, if you’ve had a bad experience with a business, bring it to their attention. But do so in a way that addresses the facts of the matter, and that trusts and allows the business to make an effort to make things right. If they refuse, then you’ve given them the benefit of the doubt, and can take other steps (including, perhaps, coming to us for help).As a businessperson, when an irate customer complains about a product or service, how do you respond? Listen to and try to understand the customer’s perspective. Address the facts and make it clear that you tried (or will try) to make things right. Contrary to the popular saying, we all know that the customer isn’t always right, but this is the most effective way to defuse the emotion. Keep this phrase in your back pocket: “I’m sorry to hear you’ve had that experience. What could I do that would make this situation right?”It takes a great deal of willpower to swallow your pride when you feel that your integrity, your professionalism, or your expertise are being questioned. It’s very tempting to lash out with counter-attacks, especially when you think – or even know – that you are right and the other party is wrong.If you really need to get something off your chest, write it down. Write that email that says everything you really want to say to that other person.Then delete it. And write another email – the one that you’re actually going to send.Whether you’re a customer or in business, anger and hostility do nothing to resolve an issue. They take what may have been a small problem and compound it with emotion.Civility and respect have great power to make the most complex issues easier to solve.