How to Deal With A Difficult Customer


It is a truism that you cannot please all of the people all of the time, and if you’re running a business this can lead to some awkward conversations with disgruntled customers. Whether it’s because an unforeseen circumstance in your business has lead to a bad experience for your customer, or the customer is…not always right, you’ll need to de-escalate the situation to win them back round, and prevent either loss of revenue or more serious consequences.

Remain Calm

Obvious advice, but if a customer is being unreasonable and shouting at you, it can be tempting to join them at the same volume and defend yourself. This will only cause the situation to spiral out of control, and best case scenario here is that they’ll storm out and never come back. In the worst case, you’ll be overheard, and alienate a lot more customers who were otherwise perfectly happy.

Be patient and wait for the customer to say their piece. Often this release of frustration is what they really need, and after having the freedom to make their displeasure known, they will be perfectly willing to listen to your solution.

Don’t Make Excuses

While there may well be extremely good reasons a delivery has been delayed, for example, this is not relevant to the customer it’s inconvenienced. Don’t waste time explaining why this wasn’t your fault: offer the customer a constructive solution: a revised date for delivery or an alternative product you can supply them immediately.

Keep Their Custom

Don’t jump to a refund as your first option. While you cannot deny a customer a refund if they’re legitimately claiming one, this could mean losing their custom forever. If you have the option of store credit or vouchers for another service, this allows you to retain their revenue, and gives you a chance to win the customer’s goodwill back. Pull out all the stops to show them an excellent service.

Consult Experts

If despite your best efforts a situation is escalating to the point where you suspect the customer may opt for legal action, or is causing you damaging negative publicity, taking legal advice, either with a traditional solicitor or one of the new breed of online lawyers is a must. They can tell you where you stand, and the possible results of any action, so you can prepare a response.