Small Business Tips: How to deal with difficult customers in Business

customer service

The customer may always right, but that doesn’t mean all customers are easy to deal with. Anyone who’s ever worked in customer service can tell you, customers can be downright unruly. Still, if you want to stay in business, you’ve got to deal with them. Businesses with poor customer service risk losing revenues, profits and even going out of business.

Difficult customers come in several varieties, including: Angry, Impatient, Intimidating, Talkative, Demanding and Indecisive. Hence, it is very important that you know what type of customer you dealing with and how to deal with them in a way that they would love your brand and always want to do business with you.

1. Listen and Let the Customer Vent.

Do not try to talk over the customer or argue with them. Let the customer have their say, even if you know what they are going to say next, and even if they may not have all the information or be mistaken. As you listen, take the opportunity to build rapport with the customer. Maintain eye contact and show your attentiveness by standing or sitting up straight; lolling or slouching makes you seem inattentive and disinterested.

2. Show the Customer You Care.

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Echo back the source of their frustration and show that you understand their position and situation. If you can identify with a customer’s issue, it will help calm them down. If you verbally “nod” during the call, the customer will feel better understood. Show concern for the customer’s feelings and maintain a concerned, sincere and interested facial expression.

3. Lower your voice when responding.

If the customer gets louder, start speaking more slowly and in a lower tone. Your calm demeanour will reflect on them and will help them to settle down. As you approach the situation with a calm, clear mind, unaffected by the customer’s tone or volume, anger will generally dissipate. In cases where you need to reply via email, ensure the words you use in your email are soft in tone when the reader reads it.

4. Never get angry or upset.

If the customer is swearing or being verbally abusive, take a deep breath and continue as if you didn’t hear them. Responding in kind will not solve anything, and it will usually escalate the situation in a negative direction. Instead, remind the customer that you are there to help them and their best immediate chance of resolving the situation – often this simple statement will help defuse the situation.

5. Try to solve the problem.

Even if solving the customer’s problem isn’t among your job duties, never say this to the customer. Get all the facts you can, and then tell the customer how you can help. Finally, don’t make promises you can’t keep. Get help from someone who knows more, is calmer, or has more power and authority.

6. Take Action and Follow-up.

Once you’ve both agreed on a solution, you need to take action immediately. Explain every step that you’re going to take to fix the problem to your client. If she has contacted you by phone, make sure that she has your name and contact details. This gives her a feeling of control because she can get hold of you again if she needs to. Once the situation has been resolved, follow up with your client over the next few days to make sure that she’s happy with the resolution.


Dealing with difficult customers can be challenging. But if you handle the situation well, you may even be able to improve your relationship and create further opportunities. Make sure that you listen actively to problems or complaints, and resist the urge to interrupt or solve the problem right away. Be empathic and understanding, and make sure that your body language communicates this.

If you’re not sure how to fix the situation, then ask your client what will make him happy. If it’s in your power, then get it done as soon as possible. Follow up with your customer to make sure he was happy with how the situation was resolved.

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