Dealing with difficult customers

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Dealing with difficult customers can be a real challenge for people involved in customer facing roles.

It is the most asked question in customer service training – how can I deal with a difficult or angry customer?


Because most people employed in customer service roles will be people people. That after all is the reason that they were employed – because they are nice people who have empathy for your customers, and can be seen as an open and friendly face of your organization

The flip side of this is that a majority of them don’t like conflict, and will do anything to avoid it. When they encounter a difficult customer, it takes them out of their comfort zone.

Helping your people help difficult customers can be a key part of your customer service training courses. To help people have the confidence, temperament and understanding of how and why people sometimes act the way they do. To help them develop strategies that work in the real world when they encounter a difficult customer.

Give people the opportunity to explore.

What is a difficult customer for them?

For some it will be someone who is angry, for others it will be if they are loud, for others it will be if they are persistent, for others it will be their accent, their tone, their use of language, their lack of manners.

Bear in mind that some people’s difficult customers will just be someone who is highly assertive or very task focused, they don’t want to be your friend, they just want the problem sorted.

Why the customer is difficult

What is going on for the customer that makes them difficult to deal with.

It may be that you have really let them down with your products or services.

It may be that they have very busy lives and have just 10 minutes between meetings to sort out their query.

Step into their world and see things from their perspective - this is a very powerful way of bridging the gap between you and the customer.

Dealing with difficult customers - What the customer service representative can do to close the gap

Getting closer to and alongside the customer can really help resolve the situation.

If the Customer Service Representative shies away from the customer or becomes confrontational, this will only make the situation worse.

It's really helpful for a CSR to understand that most of the time it is not them that the customer has  a problem with.

The customer has a problem, difficulty or an issue and they want a solution.

Help them to find the solution and you can really help.

Find more customer service training ideas by clicking on the links below

There's a useful resource for dealing with angry customers here.