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Customer Services 101 – Tips on Handling Difficult Customers – Part 1

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Bad Customer Service is one of my pet peeves. It makes me crazy, leaves me feeling irritated and disgruntled and although I have researched this topic in order to try and write this blog objectively, I am also going to write about my top 3 peeves.

I am often told that I am an extremely difficult customer! That said, I am also often told that I am an extremely easy customer. The difference of course is perception.

Example 1 – Me the very difficult customer.

If I go into a store because I have seen an advert for, let’s say a pink golf shirt and this is exactly what I ask for and the sales assistant then brings me a lilac one because they have run out of pink ones and they are out of stock. Rather tell me up-front, so that I can make an informed decision, don’t just assume that I will just accept whatever you have leftover in the store and that you cannot sell. It’s enough to make me curl my toes in annoyance.

Example 2 – Me the very difficult customer

I go to a restaurant or coffee shop and order and they ask me, “How do you like your . . . “ or “Hot or cold milk?” and then I respond and when the order comes it is with the opposite of everything that I answered.

Or (and this literally happened), I go to fill up with petrol and I tell you how much fuel to put in as well as the specific octane that I want and you put in more than I asked for of the incorrect fuel!

Don’t ask the question if you are not prepared to listen to the answer. There’s really no point is there?

Example 3 – Me the very difficult customer

I am already in a heightened state of agitation and irritability because you have repeatedly done the wrong thing and have not given me any kind of customer service and then you very sweetly say “I apologise. I’m sorry for the inconvenience”, whilst you continue to do the very thing that you are currently apologising for.

By its very nature, an apology implies that you will try and do better next time or you won’t do whatever it is again.

Seriously folks, just writing these down has taken me down several memory lanes that now have my blood pressure rising!

The reality of course, well certainly my reality is that I am not a difficult customer . . . actually I am a “walk in the park”, as long as you give me exactly what I ask for and what I want. I am known for being really clear about what it is that I was or need. Failure to meet my specific requirements, however, brings out the worst in me and if that is what makes me a difficult customer, I am really pretty happy to wear that particular hat.

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


Part 2 –

Part 3 –

Part 4 –