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10 Ways To Deal With Difficult Customers

10 Ways To Deal With Difficult Customers

We face challenging customers in all career paths and business types. Demanding customers are inevitable, and dealing with angry customers is challenging whether you work in a call center, retail store, digital marketing, social media, or customer service software.

It can be hard to maintain your calm and communicate when someone is venting their frustration at you. Often, the customer is not angry with you but aggravated with the situation. You need to use your strong communication skills to diffuse the situation. 

Quality customer service is likely to encourage a customer to return. Dealing with difficult customer situations well will make the customer happy. 

You can turn a negative situation into a positive one. An angry customer might walk away more impressed with your service after you effectively deal with the situation. 

Our ultimate guide to dealing with customers will help you offer excellent customer service. Here's what you need to know.

How to deal with difficult customers?

To handle customers, you need to know the various strategies for dealing with angry customers. Customer service teams should be trained on the different ways to engage with people, depending on the types of demanding customers. 

Customer service training will help you receive any customers coming to you fairly and confidently. Develop these ten skills to communicate with dissatisfied customers assertively. 

1. Active listening skills

Actively listen to the customer conversation. An angry customer will be further upset by difficult communication. 

To become an active listener, pay attention to body language, nonverbal cues, and feedback. Listen to understand, not to respond. An upset customer knows when you are not listening.

Observe the customer's emotions and adapt your strategies to suit the situation. You need to be able to read a problem and approach it accordingly.

Listen actively by focusing on the situation and the customer. You can practice active listening to improve your ability to deal with demanding customers. 

2. Communication skills

Communication skills are essential. Building rapport and creating trust is the best way to diffuse a situation.

A problematic customer will be frustrated by any further delays. To ensure that you efficiently deal with the situation, communicate professionally and respectfully.

Make sure your tone of voice is respectful. Don't let the customer's anger rile you up. Use positive language and repeat their concerns back to them to ensure you both understand the situation. 

Customer stories might seem unclear or hard to follow, but clarify any misunderstandings before taking action to prevent further distress.

If you are talking to the customer on a phone call, pay attention to phone etiquette. 

3. Empathy

You need to be empathetic and apologize for the customer's feelings. Handling an angry customer can make it hard to sympathize with their plight. 

However, making them feel heard will make them far more receptive to your solutions. Tell the customer you understand the issue and be sincere in your efforts to resolve the situation. 

They are likely to calm down if you show empathy to customer experiences. Putting yourself in their shoes and understanding the root of the upset customer's problem will make your solutions more efficient.

4. Confidence

A confident, professional manner will help you handle needy customers. If you seem weak or cowed by their anger, they will see you as unhelpful and easy to walk over. Maintaining your position will improve their respect for the business. 

Please don't take what they say personally. When someone is shouting or venting at you, it can be difficult not to be offended. However, the customer isn't upset with you but with the situation. You need thick skin to deal with angry customers. 

5. Make quick decisions

It would help if you were a good decision maker to resolve the situation. Know your company's policies thoroughly to make efficient, informed decisions that benefit the customer.

Customer management skills require confident decisions. Slow customer service makes the situation worse. Don't waste more of their time trying to fix the situation. Be assertive, and they will be more satisfied if you can swiftly resolve their issue.

6. Problem-solving

To resolve the issue, you need to find the root cause of the customer's issue. Problem-solving is crucial for customer service, and you need to be creative and analytical to come up with a solution that benefits all parties.

Don't bend the rules for a problematic customer; otherwise, a customer will think their behavior will result in extra perks. Understand your company's policies and know how to adapt them. 

You might need to compromise in certain customer situations. Remember when to stand your ground and when it is worth giving in. 

7. Keep calm

Being able to remain calm is vital. It can be easy to get riled up by a rude customer, and our instinct is to get defensive. 

Take deep breaths and stay objective. Responding to someone swearing and raging at you in a professional, calm manner will help diffuse the situation.

Remind the customer that you are on their side, and their best chance of resolving the situation will help them move forward. 

8. Support

In a difficult situation, know your supporting resources. You might want to enlist back up from a manager or colleague. However, you don't want to seem like you're ganging up on the customer. If someone else comes along to help, take a step back.

Have a solid knowledge base of the situation and the company's policies. Being confident that you understand the problem will help you resolve it. Also, knowing the procedures will help you find a solution to suit the customer and business. 

Dealing with a commanding customer might seem intimidating. To control the situation, maintain a solid knowledge base of your company's escalation and customer support procedures. 

9. Follow-through

Customer relationship management requires more than just diffusing the situation. The customer has already had a poor experience, and don't make it worse by not following through on what you promise.

If you say you will call back, call back. Customer relationships will suffer if you don't act on what you say you will.

Remember not to promise too much, only what you know your company will be able to give. Customer satisfaction might improve if you deal with challenging customer demands effectively. 

10. Develop your skills

Improve communication, active listening, and problem-solving skills to handle customer demands more efficiently. 

Consider signing up for a customer service skills course, as it will give you the confidence and power to tackle any problematic customer situation. These classes will help you develop abilities to listen actively and empathize with customers.

What are some examples of dealing with difficult customers? 

A demanding customer isn't always raging and swearing. There are many types of demanding customers you encounter in various customer service scenarios. 

There are different ways of dealing with impatient, indecisive, and angry customers. Follow our examples to understand how to approach different situations. 

Example 1: Impatient customers

An impatient customer might be in a rush, or busy queues have held them up. They might be openly cross, restless, or rude. 

Approach an impatient customer by communicating clearly and directly. Don't waste their time any further with poor communication. Don't dismiss their attitude. Apologize for the wait and briefly explain what you are doing to rectify the situation. 

Use positive language to turn the situation around. If you cannot fix the customer's issue today, don't say, "I can't do that right now." Instead, frame it "I will be able to do that for you within the next week." 

Example 2: Indecisive customers

Indecisive customers are sometimes slow and can cause hold-ups that upset other customers. Dealing with awkward customers is always a balance. 

You need to resolve the upset customer's situation without ruining your other customer's experience. An indecisive customer might not be able to communicate their feelings. Please pay attention to their concerns. 

For example, if you work in hospitality and a customer takes ages to decide on drinks, offer suggestions. You might need to provide the table to new arrivals. Speed up your current customer without making it seem like you are trying to get rid of them. 

Offer suggestions and advice in a friendly, positive manner. Ask them questions about their preference that can aid decision-making. 

Example 3: Angry customers

Dealing with angry customers can be upsetting and frustrating. When customer complaints are rude or verbally abusive, don't take it personally. 

Customers get angry when the situation does not go their way, and they become frustrated, and the longer it takes to resolve the problem, the more the anger escalates.

An angry customer can be challenging to appease and is unlikely to be satisfied with any resolution to the situation. Begin by apologizing to the customer. 

It might be challenging to be polite and remorseful to an angry person, but it might help diffuse the tension. Address their concerns directly and briefly. Don't stay with an angry customer too long as it is unlikely they will calm down. 

Example 4: Demanding customers

Demanding customers can be rude. They are set on what they want and unable to appreciate any alternatives. They might not understand why you cannot meet their requests, or they don't want to listen.

Patiently explain that what the customer requested is not offered by your company or you are out of stock of a product. 

Communicate why you can't meet their demands. Transparency is best. Offer them an alternative solution but be prepared for them to dismiss it. Explain the timeframe of when a satisfactory resolution might be. 

Example 5: Vague customers

A vague customer might not understand what they want or what your company offers. They may have problems communicating what they mean, and they might be confused about your services.  

Ask the customer questions to get to the bottom of the situation. Be direct and clear to arrive at a solution. As with the indecisive customer, ask pointed questions. Be patient and explain the services you offer.

As with any problematic customer, try not to spend too long with a vague one. If you are preoccupied explaining all your services and products to one customer, you will keep others waiting. Remember to balance your time fairly. 

Example 6: Unhappy customers

An unhappy customer, like an angry customer, is dissatisfied with the resolution to the problem. They may not be as vocally frustrated as an angry customer, but they leave your service unhappy. 

Apologize for not being able to satisfy them and explain their options. You might be able to offer an alternative solution. An unhappy customer might be more receptive you different options than an angry one. 

Example 7: Critical customers

Critical people are tricky customers. They might have worked a similar job to you and critique your service. Or they might be picky about the company's products or policies. 

Be transparent. Explain why your company offers the services it does. If the customer is rude about your role, you should apologize even if you feel it is unwarranted. Know your company's policies and rely on your training to maintain quality service. 

Dealing with each type of customer requires a different approach. Remember these strategies and adapt them to different scenarios. Keep your customer service skills polished and stay calm in any situation. 

To learn more about how to behave with demanding customers, sign up for a training course dealing with challenging customers.

What are some online courses for learning to deal with difficult customers?

Regular customer service training is vital for business owners and customer service teams to improve their customer's experience. An online customer service course can prove your commitment, competency, and job-ready. 

At Courses for Success, we offer a Handling a Difficult Customer Online Certificate Course. The course boasts many success stories, and the course will help you improve customer relationships, learn to manage stress, understand diverse challenges, and adapt strategies. 

The course is available 24/7 for flexible learning, and you will receive a certificate of completion upon finishing that will look good on your resume. The course is open to anyone, no matter your experience or role. 

Confidently handling customer complaints will look good in a cover letter, resume, or job interview. Common interview questions include asking how you would approach a difficult customer situation.  

Everyone has to deal with demanding customers at some point in the workplace. Thorough training on approaching the situation will give you the confidence and tactics to speak to any customer. 

Why Courses for Success?

Courses for Success offers over 10,000 online courses, all of which aim to help you in your personal development and career progression. Not only that, but you can also study them anywhere and at any time, and take them at your own pace, too.

You don't need career diplomas or specific experience to get started. From our coding courses and trading courses to design courses and developer courses, every course we offer will help boost your prospects, no matter who you are.

Beyond just the education itself, students will be issued a certificate online after completing each of the learning courses they do. Our online handling difficult customers courses are no exception and are recognized by industry leaders. You could make a name for yourself by signing up for a Courses for Success short course today.

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