Knowing how to deal with difficult customers is vital for small businesses. Discover how to turn a challenging scenario into an outstanding customer experience.

If you handle customer service in your business, your responsibility doesn't end with providing great service. You must also learn how to effectively deal with challenging customers. That means identifying the best reactions for various scenarios when a customer is upset with either you or your business.

If you've dealt with challenging individuals before, you understand how arduous it can be. However, if you retain these pointers and remain composed and courteous the entire time, these conversations can be stress-free and harmonious for everyone involved.

Be Polite & Respectful

When you're dealing with a difficult customer, it's easy to get frustrated. You want to help them and they just won't listen! But there are ways to keep your cool while still being respectful and polite.

  • Don't lose your temper. It's natural that you'll feel angry when someone is yelling at you or treating you poorly, but don't let that anger get the best of you--it will only make things worse for everyone involved if things escalate into an argument or fight. Instead, take deep breaths until the feeling passes before responding again in a calm manner (you can even count slowly from 1-10).
  • Don't blame the customer for their behavior; instead focus on how their actions affect other people or processes. For example: "I'm sorry this happened; would it be possible for me to help?" vs "This shouldn't have happened." The latter statement implies fault on behalf of another person which may lead them into becoming defensive again due to perceived judgmentalism by others around them rather than focusing on resolving any issues brought up during discussion between parties involved.

Establish A Rapport

Establishing a rapport with your customer is the another tip to handle difficult customers effectively. In addition to being friendly and polite, you should use their name when addressing them. If you can't remember who they are, ask about their family, interests and business.

Also consider asking about their hobbies, favorite sports team or movie so that you can build some common ground with them. This will help create an atmosphere where both parties feel more comfortable discussing whatever issue has arisen between them and make it easier for both parties involved in resolving said issue.

Show Concern For Their Feelings

Showing concern for your customer's feelings is an important part of effective customer service. It shows that you are listening and understanding their situation, which can help improve the relationship between you two.

It's not about who's right or wrong, it's about making the customer feel better to prevent future complaints.

Listen Carefully To What The Customer Says

In order to handle difficult customers effectively, you need to listen carefully.

  • Listen for the problem: What does the customer want? What has gone wrong? Why does it matter so much? How will this affect them and others involved in some way (including yourself)?
  • Listen for underlying emotion: Are they angry or frustrated? Do they sound like they're having fun, or are they just going through the motions because it's part of their job description? If so, why would anyone do something like that voluntarily? Are there any hints from previous conversations that could help shed light on their current state of mind--perhaps something similar happened before which led them down this path again now?
  • Listen for what's being said versus what isn't being said: It's easy enough when someone gives an answer; however sometimes we miss things because we weren't paying attention (or maybe even because our brain is focusing elsewhere). So now comes back around full circle where listening carefully becomes important again!

Empathize With The Customer's Situation

difficult customer

You can empathize with the customer's situation by:

  • Showing that you understand their situation. You can do this by asking questions and listening carefully to the answers, repeating back what they have said in a way that shows that you have understood it correctly, or paraphrasing their words in your own words (i.e., restating what was said). For example: "So it sounds like this isn't going according to your plans?"
  • Asking questions about how they feel about what has happened or what they would like from you as a result of it happening. This will help uncover any underlying emotions so that these feelings don't come out later when dealing with other customers or coworkers at work!

Clarify Their Concerns

The next step in dealing with difficult customers is to clarify their concerns, making sure you understand them correctly.

First, ask questions to make sure you understand what the customer is saying. "Could you tell me more about your situation?" or "Would it help if I asked some clarifying questions?" are good ways to start this process.

Second, ask them to tell you about their problem again--but this time with more detail and examples of what they are concerned about so that there aren't any misunderstandings or gaps in communication between the two of you.

Thirdly, listen carefully while they speak; don't interrupt while they're talking (unless there's something urgent), but do let them know when it's okay for them stop talking so that both parties can think through what has been said thus far and plan out an effective solution together based on those discussions.

Use Positive Language

When dealing with impolite customers, communicating in a professional manner and using affirmative language can be very effective. If customers use negative language, try to rephrase their statement in a positive manner.

Use positive expressions such as "Happy to help!", "Absolutely!" and "Thank you for understanding."

Agree On A Solution Or Next Step

Once you've listened and empathized, it's time to agree on a solution. This could be as simple as agreeing that the customer is right and then fixing their problem; or it could mean negotiating an alternative solution that works for both of you (for example, offering them a discount).

In addition to agreeing on what needs to happen next, it's important that both parties are clear about how they will communicate with each other going forward. If there are multiple steps involved in getting this resolved, make sure everyone agrees on who will be responsible for each step--and when it will happen.

Final Thoughts

We hope this article has given you some insight into how to handle difficult customers effectively. The key is to listen carefully, empathize with them and solve their problems. This may seem like a lot of work, but it will pay off in the long run by making your customers happy and keeping them loyal!