Having excellent customer service skills is essential if your position requires customer interaction. These skills come in especially handy when learning how to deal with difficult customers.
A difficult customer can be categorized as either angry, impatient, indecisive, demanding, or picky, and can make your job more strenuous than it often is.
Not to worry!
We’ve come up with a list of how to deal with difficult customers. But first! Let’s get into the types of difficult customers you will likely face.
5 types of difficult customers
Dealing with angry customers is no easy feat and you want to ensure that you remain calm as you calm them down.
One of the first things you should do is apologize, even if you or the business has done nothing wrong. This might help in starting a proactive conversation that can lead to a quicker resolution.
Even if they raise their voice or are verbally abusive, you want to maintain control of the situation by not mirroring the same actions or language being displayed.
An impatient customer is likely to have been waiting for a lengthy period of time and may have other time-sensitive engagements or just want a solution immediately.
Be straightforward and transparent about what has gone down and what can be done in order to resolve the problem. Ensure they are aware of why there’s a delay but don’t go into full detail.
Indecisive customers are typically known to take longer to reach a decision while asking dozens of questions.
Being knowledgeable about the solution or product will make it easier to respond with useful information and address any concerns that they have. Customers, especially indecisive ones, respond better to someone that actually knows their stuff.
After all, wouldn’t you prefer to be taken care of by a team member who radiated confidence and knowledge surrounding the product?
A demanding customer might misinterpret the way in which you are able to assist them and ask you to do something you’re unauthorized to do. Even if they’re 100% sold on the product, they will be less willing to accept alternatives that don’t reach their expectations.
If they’re asking for too much you might even have to compromise. Being transparent and patient are two of the best ways to handle demanding customers so that you can get the job done and meet their satisfaction.
A picky or highly critical customer will typically find issues with your product or business and isn’t shy to make their dissatisfaction known. Managing this type of customer requires you to listen and be patient in order to comprehend where they’re coming from.
Their honesty in most situations is to be appreciated. You can take some of their criticism and feedback as a way to improve your business and continually enhance customer satisfaction.
How to deal with difficult customers: 5 tips
Keep calm. Take a breath.
When dealing with a particularly angry customer the most important thing is to remain calm. As mentioned earlier you don’t want to replicate the same attitude or actions. That will get you both NOWHERE.
Take for example if two people are on a canoe and start panicking by moving about, they increase their risk of falling off. Weird ideology we know but you’re not going to get anywhere if you don’t take control of the situation.
Should a customer have an issue then practice active listening!
When customers complain it’s easy to respond with “Yes I understand, but…” or talk over them so you can get your point across. However, you should let your customer speak and share their perspective on the situation.
Even if you have all the information and answers, listen first and understand what they’re saying before communicating possible solutions. This will allow the customer to feel heard so you can rebuild trust and give them a better experience.
A sincere apology may be a bit difficult to swallow when encountering challenging customers. As easy as it is to respond negatively to their distress, keeping your cool and genuinely owning up to the issue is the best way to move forward.
Highlight the steps
If you’ve ever purchased an item or service and experienced issues then being well-informed on what is happening can bring much-needed peace of mind. Not having a light on the situation is highly frustrating and inconvenient.
When an error occurs, customers want to know the exact steps that will be taken and how the situation will be navigated.
Let your customers know exactly what the following steps are and keep them informed throughout the process.
Ask for help
Sometimes you can’t weather the storm on your own. Figuring out how to meet the needs of a customer can sometimes require you to ask your team for help. That way other customer service reps fill in the gaps of knowledge and solutions you may be missing.
By asking for help you learn new ways of managing angry or difficult customers so that when a situation arises in the future, you’ll be fully equipped to manage it yourself.
Even if a customer appears to be angry and frustrated, they are your customers, and taking care of them is your number one priority. Keeping them happy will only help your business’ reputation which will then reach more potential customers.
Learning how to deal with difficult customers can be done by listening to them, remaining calm, and showing them how the problem will be solved. These strategies are sure to make it easier when managing difficult customers.
About the author
Marketing Coordinator at Locate2u having completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in English Literature and Creative Writing. I have extensive experience in editing and proofreading, as well as creating content for a range of audiences.