Mastering the Art of Dealing with Difficult Customers Signup

Mastering the Art of Dealing with Difficult Customers

Mar 12, 2024

Running a small business is full of ebbs and flows. Some seasons will be prosperous while others will feel like you’re in the middle of Death Valley praying for someone to come and save you. But one of the things small business owners don’t really talk about is difficult customers. Sure, they’ll complain about them to their spouses or friends and family, BUT no one ever really talks about how to deal with them. While they are only a SMALL portion of your overall clientele, they can ruin your day (sometimes weeks for that matter)! This blog is all about helping you, the small business owner, turn those tough customer moments into growth opportunities.

Let’s dive in…

Know Your Difficult Customers

First up, let's talk about who these difficult customers are. They come in all shapes and sizes - the indecisive ones, the hard bargainers, the complainers, and the know-it-alls. Getting to know their quirks and what makes them tick can help you respond better. For example, complainers often just need a place to let off some steam, while hard bargainers want to score the best deals. This is why you should, from the beginning, understand WHO your ideal client is and master the art of communication. By crafting your messaging and content to speak to your ideal client, you’ll be less likely to ATTRACT these “difficult customers,” and by practicing and learning about communication, you’ll be more equipped to handle these tough customers. By understanding who these types of customers are, you’ll be able to combat their objections, and hopefully reach a solution faster.

Talk the Talk

Speaking of communication, when you're dealing with tough customers, it's all about playing it cool and keeping it professional. Because here’s the thing: You are the FACE of this business. You set an example for your employees. It’s your job to handle difficult situations with grace, and understanding, and be able to de-escalate tense situations because THEY WILL HAPPEN. If you act irrationally, yell, and allow difficult customers to get under your skin, you’re going to run into a lot of customer service issues that are easily avoidable. So, what’s the solution? The truth is, the customer may not always be right, but it’s your responsibility for the things that go wrong in your business. Listen to their issues, show you care, and apologize if you need to. This can take the heat out of any situation and make the customer feel understood. Keep your cool, even if the customer loses theirs. Remember, you're the problem solver, not the debater. It’s your job as a small business owner to solve the problems of the customers you have and offer solutions.

Building a Solid Complaints Handling System

I’m a HUGE proponent of systems and processes! And having a system to handle complaints is like having a secret weapon against difficult customers. This should be a clear process for customers to voice their complaints, a team that's got the skills to handle them, and a set of guidelines for different situations. Now, as your business grows and evolves the problems and complaints you face are going to vary but it’s crucial in the beginning to think like your customer. And as your customer what are some potential complaints they may have when it comes to your products/services and overall the way you do business? By thinking ahead and preparing for the WORST, you’ll be more equipped and prepared for when you do receive complaints and have to come to a resolution with a difficult customer. A well-thought-out complaints handling system not only fixes problems but also helps prevent them from happening again by spotting patterns and areas that need attention.

When it comes down to it, difficult customers are just a small bump in the road of running your own business. Get to know them, communicate well, and have a solid complaint-handling system in place - these are your go-to strategies. Remember, every challenging interaction is a chance to learn and grow. So, don't hope and pray away tough customers - think of them as your strictest teachers, but also your best ones. The more you experience these different situations- the more equipped you’ll be to handle them like a pro.


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