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Customer Service 101 – Tips on Handling Difficult Customers – Part 2

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Last time we looked at:-
1. Salespeople trying to sell you stuff that you did not ask for;
2. Salespeople not listening to what you ask for.

Let’s have a look at a few more that my research has unearthed.

1. One of the issues that have come up time and time again is “Hear their side of the story.”

We all want our voices heard and that includes your employees. They want us (the client, customer, consumer) to understand why it is that they cannot or will not deliver whatever it is that we require, but they don’t want to hear our side of the story.

As irritated, frustrated clients, we don’t really what to hear why they don’t have XYZ in our size. Rather than just apologise for not having it in stock (or whatever the problem is), make a suitable suggestion e.g. “let me check if any of our other stores have it and I can reserve it there for you or have it transferred to our store and I will call you when it arrives.” Of course, then make good on that promise!

Not listening to the customer and the complaint is one sure-fire way to not only lose the customer (yeah, not only the loss of the sale but the customer too), but it could really be very bad for business, especially if that “lost” customer turns to social media in an attempt to get themselves heard. Not dealing with a potential customer’s problem effectively, is likely to turn a bad situation, even worse.

2. Remain Calm.

The absolute worst thing that you do is to lose the plot when you are dealing with a perceived difficult customer. Do not, under any circumstance start shouting and screaming at the customer.

That, of course, does not mean that you have to take verbal abuse. You can be firm about what you are prepared to accept without getting into a shouting match.

Try and calm them down, if possible, try and get them to sit down, all the while, quietly but firmly, tell them that you would like to help them but in order to do so, you need their co-operation. They need to explain the problem to you in a calm and dignified manner.

3. Don’t take it personally.

Whatever you do, don’t take it personally! I understand that some clients get really, really angry when their expectations are not met. The reality is that they are irritated and just venting and letting off some steam. So don’t respond in anger.

Remember, you are the person that gave them the information that they did not what to hear and as the face of the company, and in that moment in time, you’re the object of their irritation and anger.

Also, please remember, that everyone has trigger points that ignite their anger and yours cannot also be ignited. Stay calm and in control of the situation.

Next time I’ll explore some of the other tips on “handling difficult customers”, that my research has highlighted


Part 1 –


Part 3 –

Part 4 –