If you’ve been in business a long time, you’ve likely heard it all! You know, the irate customer who is going to sue you over the smallest of things, because they chose the wrong colour or their expectations of the service were way higher that what could be achieved. And my personal favourite has to be the one treats you like you are sat waiting just for her and has no boundaries or respect for your time.

It doesn’t happen often, but if you’re going to be in business, you will run across some clients that simply are not a good fit for you. Some can be diffused and taught, some cannot. That’s just the way things are.

There are some simple techniques for dealing with unpleasant customers without it effecting your mental wellbeing, and trust me over the years it has done just that to me, until I learnt how to switch off from the situation.

Here are some tips you may find useful

1. Don’t take it personal.

There is one thing that almost all unpleasant customers have in common. They try to attack you on a personal level. Name calling is not unusual. When you take it personal, you are likely to get into a yelling match with the customer which resolves nothing and only stands to make things worse. Try to diffuse the situation kill the anger with kindness so to speak. If that doesn’t work, ask them to contact you again once they have calmed down and are willing to speak reasonably. Refuse to speak with a customer in an irate state. You don’t have to put up with abuse ever. No other business puts up with it, so why should you.

2. Don’t overdo the customer is always right concept.

In customer service training you will always hear that the customer is always right. While that is true to some extent, sometimes they are just flat wrong. You should always try to accommodate a customer within reason and that fits your business ethics and policies, but do not allow that concept to go too far. For every one customer that may not be a good fit for you there will be two waiting round the corner.

3. Realize it isn’t always your problem.

Sometimes people just have a bad day and are looking for someone to take it out on. You should know your customers to an extent and if it is out of the norm of their behaviour then it’s probably a situation that has nothing to do with you or your work. If you listen to their ranting and raving, then respond kindly telling them you understand their frustration and you want to work with them to come to a resolution, you will often diffuse the anger and uncover the rational human being beneath it.

4. Don’t fall for fear invoking bluffs.

In customer service some business people tend to do anything to avoid the potential harm of a threat even if it means losing money or giving in to irrational demands. When you are threatened, consider the validity of the threat. Do you really think someone is going to pay thousands in solicitors fees to make a claim? Likely not. Again, do what you can to accommodate within reason and in line with your terms and conditions, which you should make your customer fully aware of from the get go,  but don’t give in to unsubstantiated threats.

5. Be prepared to decide whether or not a customer relationship is worth salvaging.

You’ve heard it said that one happy customer tells one person about your business while an unhappy customer will tell 10 or more. Undoubtedly, word of mouth can be the best or the worst exposure for your business especially now with social media. This is the very basis of the  customer is always right concept. It is best to act as professionally as possible in this situation, do not get into a war of words, state facts and leave it there. Do not be afraid to ‘sack’ clients that simply give you sinking feeling before they have even arrived. You are your own boss for a reason… that one client can massively impact your love for your job.

As always feel free to leave a comment and I shall help as much as I can.

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