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5 Tips for dealing with a difficult customer

Jul 26, 2021

As long as there are consumers, there are going to be difficult customers. It’s just a fact of doing business. Should you find yourself in a situation where you need to assist an angry customer, the following tips will definitely come in handy. It’s probably easier to calm someone down than you think.

Practice Listening: It is always important to listen carefully to what a customer has to say, even if they are being difficult. Give them your full attention and let them know that you’re listening to what they have to say. Proving that you’re a good listener has the potential to make an angry customer more likely to want to do business with you, which is the ideal outcome.

Consider Their Point of View: It isn’t enough to simply listen to what the customer has to say. In order to diffuse the situation, it’s best to put yourself in their shoes. Imagine how you would feel if you had to deal with the same situation. Most importantly, let the customer know that you understand how they feel. This will help to build a connection between you and the customer and move the conflict toward a reasonable solution.

Pretend You Have an Audience: When a customer is being irate in a one-on-one setting, it can be tempting to lose your temper back at them. When dealing with customers, always pretend that other customers are watching. Don’t do or say anything that you wouldn’t do in front of a crowd of people, or your boss. Consider how someone watching the conversation would feel about the way you’re acting and also the way that the customer is acting. It can be reassuring to realize that other people may think that the customer is difficult right along with you.

Remain Calm: Getting aggressive or angry toward a problematic customer will never do anything to solve the problem. It fact, it can damage the reputation of your workplace. Make sure to keep your voice low and calm as you help the customer get what they need. Be sure to avoid becoming defensive and let the customer know that you’re there to help them. If you treat them courteously and with respect, they are more likely to curb their difficult behavior and deal with you more politely.

Come Up With a Plan: It’s essential that the customer knows that you are going to work toward solving their issue. Come up with a plan to take care of their problem and let them know what each step will be. They won’t have a lot left to be angry about once they see that you are serious about getting things taken care of. If you promise to contact the customer as soon as the issue is resolved, make sure that you follow through. Even if you don’t have an update for them yet, it’s important that they know that you’re actively working to help them.

These are just a few simple things that will help you properly deal with a difficult customer. Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid the issue. Remember, the best thing you can do is to be sympathetic to the problem and listen. Treat angry customers like you would expect to be treated in a similar situation. The key to success is diffusing anger.

Photo credit: Julien L