Tips for Dealing with Difficult Customers/Clients

man and woman fighting1. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Listen and acknowledge what the customer is saying. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with them. You can respond with: “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

2. Don’t take their anger personally. Validate their feelings. For example: “I understand that you’re angry… (Then, repeat the complaint you’re hearing). You feel that you’re not getting the service you deserve.” Did I hear you correctly? Let’s see what I can do to resolve your concern about this.”

3. If an individual isn’t hearing what you’re saying to them, they are trying to control you. Instead of handling situations by getting into a power struggle, use the ‘Broken Record’ technique. When a person says something that you feel that you need to respond to, instead of responding to the content of their argument, say “I understand that you (insert their main point), our policy is…” Example: “I understand that you think you’re over-paying, our price for this service is…” Whatever counter argument is made, you simply keep saying the same thing. “I understand…., our price for this service is…”

4. If you need to express a sensitive feeling or criticism, use ‘I statements.’ Example: “I feel frustrated b/c you seem to believe that you are my only client.” In order to effectively use ‘I statements,’ you need to start with “I feel,” then make sure you identify a feeling. Saying ‘I feel you…” is not an “I statement,” it is a disguised ‘you statement.’

5. Make the customer/client feel they are involved in the solution-finding process. Ask, “What would you like me to do to move this forward?” “How exactly can we help you?”

6. If you offer a solution, ask: “Does that sound reasonable to you?”


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