How To Deal With Difficult Customers

We’ve all heard the phrase, “The customer is always right.” But is this true? What about that difficult customer who decides to take his or her bad mood out on someone in the service industry? Call centre agents and counter sales staff are consistently exposed to people like these. So how should they handle a customer that does this? Are there strategies they can apply to ensure a happy customer as well as a happy service representative?

Is the customer always right?

Even though the customer is technically not always in the right, he or she should be made to feel as if they are—or eventually realize themselves that they are not. This can be accomplished in various ways. The first is to empathize (not sympathize) with the customer. Let them know that you agree with how the situation has made them feel. The second is to not take their outbursts personally. Simply agree with how they are feeling and promise that you will solve their problem.

What a good attitude can achieve

Customers who have been treated more fairly than what they deserve, often relax and end up feeling bad about the way they treated a company representative. A calm or shamed customer is someone who can be better reasoned with. He or she will eventually obtain reasonable satisfaction because they are receiving real help for their problem. In the end, both the representative and the customer will be happy with the way the situation turned out.

Generating loyalty

This type of service is exactly what creates loyalty in customers. Sure, everyone wants things to go right all the time; but at some point mistakes will be made, systems will go down, and documents will be lost. It is in these negative moments that companies have the opportunity to win the loyalty of their customers by handling the negative situation in a proper way. Failure to do so will send customers to competitors who have figured out the secret of superior customer service.

Handle difficult customers the same way you would want to be handled if you were a difficult customer—which many of us are. Having intelligent methods of dealing with customers is the best way to get an edge over competing companies who will lose their customers because of their inability to do what you and your company can.


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