Customer Service Skills to
Help You Deal With Your Next Difficult Customer

See also: Customer Service Tips

Customers: can't live with them and we certainly cannot live without them.  A confrontational situation can be a real test of patience but, with the right customer service skills, no challenge is too big to handle.

How you rise to the situation is a true testament to your character, and some of the best customer service representatives tackle difficult situations with grace. If you are in need of some inspiration on how best to deal with a difficult customer, keep reading as we run you through some personas that prove not everyone makes a great customer.

Not Everyone Makes a Great Customer

Next time a difficult customer crosses your path, refer to the infographic below, created by the team at The Website Group, for some fun inspiration on how to tackle these tricky situations.

Not Everyone Makes a Great Customer!

Meet ´The Know-it-all Hero'.

This customer is not just one tough cookie, he´s also a smart little cookie as well.

Much more proficient in your area of expertise than you are, the know-it-all hero really knows how to test one´s patience. Instead of allowing their condescending words to hinder your confidence, here are some customer service tips to help you survive:

  1. Practice patience: chances are the hero wants a rise out of you. Breathe and take control of the situation.
  2. Acknowledge what they have to say. Sometimes they may just be full of ideas and their delivery is just wrong. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
  3. Reassurance goes a long way to humbling a know-it-all hero. Let them know that their ideas will be taken into consideration.

Welcome to the party ´Ninja Snooper´.

This persona can sometimes be hard to spot, posing as a customer when really they're just snooping around.

Before you get frustrated, take time to consider why they are in fact snooping around your business. Maybe because you are the bee's knees and they know it? If you still find yourself getting a little frustrated with the Ninja, try these skills to help you push through:

  1. Adopt a sense of humour and go along with the scenario.
  2. Remind yourself that a little competition is a good thing.

Hello, Penny Pincher!

Our next customer profile is not very appreciative of high quality, valuable work.

He displays this attribute by always bargaining down a fair price and, if you don't stick to your guns, he may just score himself too good a deal. Let us help you out with some coping techniques:

  1. Know your boundaries before entering into a negotiation and stick to your number.
  2. Reiterate the value you bring to the table and always detail each and every service you will be providing.
  3. If you can't avoid dropping your price without losing the customer, try to win somewhere else. If they bargain you down, ask for an extended length of contract to lock in a good deal for them! Always make it work for you as well.

And we finish with the biggest doozy of them all -

´Langry´ (loud and angry).

The most annoying one of them all, this customer has some powerful lungs and isn't afraid to use them.

We suggest that you handle him with the utmost professionalism and remember that everyone has had to deal with a Langry before. These customer service tips will help ease the tension:

  1. Never retaliate. This will only make matters worse. You can't fight fire with fire.
  2. Let them know that you are genuinely listening. Nothing frustrates a Langry more than their message falling on deaf ears.
  3. Offer a solid solution within a set time frame such as "I will look into how we can resolve this issue and get back to you by 4 pm today."

Conflict Resolution and Mediation

Further Reading from Skills You Need

Conflict Resolution and Mediation

Learn more about how to effectively resolve conflict and mediate personal relationships at home, at work and socially.

Our eBooks are ideal for anyone who wants to learn about or develop their interpersonal skills and are full of easy-to-follow, practical information.

About the Author

Michael is a Director at The Website Group, a UK based Digital Agency specialising in pay monthly business web design, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Social Media Marketing.