Practical Ways to Deal with Difficult Customers

Even if you have an award-winning product or service, someone is bound to find fault with it.

In this age of technology and social media, the negative experiences of customers can echo throughout the Internet. Therefore, it’s critical for customer support teams and team members to carefully consider how they respond to customer complaints.  You will never find the perfect solution to any problem. And some customers just won’t be happy, no matter what. However, there are ways you can approach customer service challenges that will help ease the situation.

Side with the customer against the problem

By the time a customer comes to you with their problem, they’re usually ready for a ‘fight’. Instead of reacting on the defensive, it’s important to side with the customer against the problem. Use positive language and stay focused on fixing the issue. Most of all, avoid being passive aggressive or dismissive. You’ll just rile the customer up even more. Another diplomatic move is to say you’re sorry, even when the customer is being unreasonable. A phrase as simple as “I am sorry to hear you feel that way”, can instantly defuse a tense situation.

Guide the conversation

Some customers have unreasonable needs, which can be awkward when you can’t fulfil their requests. But instead of giving them an outright no, steer the conversation in a different direction. Offer alternative solutions and explain internal processes, so they know it’s out of your hands. Additionally, explain the steps you will take, to reassure them you can deliver on the alternative. For the most part, customers just want to know they’re heard. So make sure you do listen. Furthermore, reiterate what they’ve said back to them, to ensure you’re both on the same page.

Take responsibility, but be objective

Angry customers often want to know that someone empathises with their situation, as much as they want the problem fixed. You’d be surprised how well customers respond when you accept responsibility for the problem on behalf of the brand. The next best thing to giving customers what they want is showing them you take them seriously. You can emphasise this by using the customer’s name and phrases such as “I understand”. Above all else though, remain objective and don’t take things personally.

Know when it’s time to let go

We’re often told that the customer is always right, but that doesn’t mean they’re allowed to be abusive. Furthermore, instead of spending valuable time fighting with a difficult customer, you could be focusing on other customers. While the ideal goal is to keep customers, when it comes to truly difficult ones you might be better off letting them go. Regardless of the attitude of the customer though, be sure to end the business relationship with grace and professionalism.


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Enhance your professional development with courses at Odyssey Training. 

When you encounter difficult customer behaviours, it is easy to take it personally, and a natural reaction for many is to respond aggressively, while others withdraw passively. Dealing with Difficult Customers Behaviour and Complaints 1 day course will help you deal with difficult customer service conversations and increase your chance of winning back unhappy customers by providing you with the skills to listen and act on the best decision, stay positive, and communicate effectively under pressure.