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How do you handle difficult customers?

As we all know in business the customer is king and provides the reason why businesses exist. They exist to attract, serve, and retain customers. But some customers forget to be good kings.

A good king is decent, wise, a good listener, understanding, and honorable among other good virtues. But some customers are difficult to handle. They are not willing to listen and appreciate what you are explaining to them.

They are quite demanding and aggressive in their approach. They can be bullies, demanding, impatient, quick to anger, rude, abusive, arrogant, and critical. In extreme cases, they can cause a scene to be noticed.

When you are in this situation you should not forget your company’s best customer care practices for interacting with difficult customers. You should also remember that the road to effective customer care is not a straight one, it has some challenges, and a difficult customer is one of these challenges.

The following are some of the ideas you may wish to apply when handling difficult customers.

Benefits of difficult customers

Difficult customers in several ways are an asset to the company and without them, the company will lose out on the experience of handling difficult customers.

Through them, you will achieve a better customer experience that will help you to enhance the skills that will help you in preventing the loss of future customers.

They will also help the company in testing and enhancing the listening and problem-solving skills of staff.

Through difficult customers, the company will identify areas where there is a need to improve both the capacity of staff and the quality of its products or services.

Positive attitude

You have to be optimistic about situations no matter how grave they may look otherwise you will not be in a position to overcome them.

These difficult circumstances include interactions with difficult customers and staff. You have to emphasize more of an optimistic approach in handling difficult customers.

The customers may be rude but they are still interacting with you for business purposes. The difficult customer could have walked away from your company but he or she has not.

Capacity building

You should continuously improve your capacity to handle difficult people by attending relevant training programs.

For example, a course in emotional intelligence will equip you with skills on how to relieve stress, communicate effectively, and empathize with others. Take advantage of any coaching available in this area.

Listening ability

Some of the customers may be suffering from some frustrations and they are letting off steam by being difficult. They are looking for a person who can just listen to them as they let off their frustration. Just be a good and patient listener to difficult customers.

As time passes, they tend to become rational when they realize you are listening to them. When you feel the difficult customer has become rational pose this question, what do you want me to do to satisfy your needs? The answer will guide you on how to serve the customer better.

Good Rapport

Some of the difficult customers are not difficult to all staff, they may have a good relationship with some colleagues in the company.

It is important you seek the support of these colleagues as you realize the customer is becoming difficult.

I recommend that some of the difficult customers should be handled by staff that have either a rapport with them or good skills to handle difficult customers.

Empathy skills

The staff should have good empathy skills that will enable them to sense the emotions or feelings of difficult customers and to imagine how they are feeling or thinking.

This is imagining how you act if you were in their shoes. This will help the staff in giving a soothing response instead of adding salt to the injury.

You should remember you are interacting with a human being who has emotions.

Change approach

If the customer is rude you cannot afford to be rude if you are looking for a win-win outcome. You cannot extinguish the fire with fire but with water. You do not want to be in a quarreling match with a quarrelsome customer as you will certainly be the loser.

Difficult customers should be seen to advise on the way they want to be served. Aim at the win-win approach that will make difficult customer return for business.

Impact of the difficult customer on other customers

The way you handle difficult customers will certainly have an impact on other customers who will come to know what happened.

The difficult customer may also opt to use social media to put across his or her purported frustrations with your company. You have to appreciate it is difficult to win with social media.


The road to success is not straight, it has sharp bends, steep descent, and climbing but the most important about this road, it leads to success.

This is the same with difficult customers if handled very well, they will have a positive impact on both staff and revenue.