How To Deal With Difficult Customers

Getting a negative review sucks! It really is as simple as that, you work hard to make sure that you provide the best product and service that you can, only for someone to leave you a negative review.

Most of your time dealing with customers, will be spent with difficult customers! In this post I am going to go over some of the ways you can deal with these customers.

From my experience, the most difficult customers usually contact you via email or some form of messenger. I have not had many difficult customers when they have phoned me up.

The most difficult customers that I have dealt with usually started out by sending a long rant of a message that is probably attacking your product, business or even you personally. Sometimes it can be a combination of the three! Below I will cover the process I developed over a number of years selling online, to deal with these wonderful customers!

Step 1: Understand the Point of the Message

When you are confronted by a long rant of a message, it might not be obvious straight away what the problem is! If this is the case, then read through the message a couple of times so that you understand what the problem is and ignore all the abuse or nasty stuff that the customer says.

Step 2: Crafting your Response

You want to take time to respond to the customer and whatever you do, don’t respond on emotion as that is only likely to make things worse. Instead, think about your reply and there are two things I always put in my responses.

Show Empathy

You want to try and diffuse the situation with your customer and the best way to do that is to be empathetic. This is also where your understanding of the initial message also comes into play. I would always start my reply with:

“Hi, sorry to hear that you are not happy with product/service” or “Hi, sorry to hear that you have had an issue with product/service”.

If you know their customers name, you can also add that after the Hi to make the message more personal. A response like this shows that you are concerned that they are not happy with the product/service they received and also that you understand what the issue is.

Offer a Resolution

The next part of your message is to offer the customer a resolution and the kind of resolution does depend on your business.

Some of the things you can offer can be a full refund, a partial refund if you don’t want the product back. If you do want the product back, then inform them of how they can return it to you and that once you have received it back, you will offer a full refund.

This then shows the customer that you want to resolve the issue for them and have given them an option to do that, it is then up to the customer if they want to take you up on the offer.

Step 3: If they say it is Not as Described

The above response will work for the majority of difficult customers if they just don’t like the product, it doesn’t work has broken etc or has got lost in the post. But if they are saying that it is not as described and you know you have covered everything in your product description and images.

You want to follow a similar response to what I have mentioned above but you also want to point your customer to your product listing and specifically the information in your listing.

From my experience, you will either not hear back from the customer or they will ask in a more polite way if they can return it. This is because you have shown the customer that you have described it properly and it is the customer that is at fault because they have not read the description properly.

Wrapping Up

Using this type of strategy will help you deal with and resolve the issues with 90% of your customers and unfortunately there is that last 10% that no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot make the customer happy. In this instance you just want to re-iterate the resolution that you can offer and leave it up to your customer if they accept it or not.

I hope this will help you develop a strategy to deal with difficult customers because if you don’t, then you can end up spending a lot of time dealing with a small proportion of you customers and this can come at the detriment of your other customers and possibly of your business in general.

If you aren’t able to resolve an issue with your customer, then you might want to take a read of my How To Deal With Negative Reviews post, just in case!