Home Article How To Handle Difficult Customers As A Business Owner

How To Handle Difficult Customers As A Business Owner


Every business owner has to deal with difficult customers at one time or the other. From CEOs to petty traders, there is always that one customer that seems hell bent on frustrating you out of business.

Often, difficult customers aren’t expressing frustration with you. These emotions are tied to external situations and psychological stimuli and this makes offering high-quality service difficult.

From angry to impatient to intimidating to talkative to demanding to indecisive customers, the way in which you handle these customers will go a long way in giving your business a good name and in most cases, great referrals.

Mrs Obi, 42, a small-time business owner swore that Iya Ibeji only wanted to see her fail. Today, they are the best of friends. “All it took was patience and resolve”.

Here are some tips on how to handle these customers:

1. Remain calm

No matter the aggravation, learn to remain calm. Never match aggression with aggression. Breathing exercises could help. A little in and out releases tension and calms the nerves.

2. Be sincere

Lying to your customers when you fail to meet a deadline is not always advisable. Some know you’re lying and will move on to some other service provider as soon as you deliver. Nothing more liberating than the truth. One perk with this particular principle is, you’ll be driven to always meet your deadline.

3. Never exchange words or argue with customers.

This is a definite no-no. I went to make my hair at a salon once and I was telling the hairdresser to smoothen out the tips of the braid. Aunty flipped and started shouting about how I was telling her what to do. It was my last time there. For a business to thrive, diplomacy is paramount. Instead of arguing, think of how best to quiet the storm. After all, the customer is always right. Right?

4. Don’t wear a frown, smile

Apart from the fact that smiling makes you look more attractive; it also helps to thwart a customer’s rage. I mean, who would want to shout at a smiling person? Smiling shows hospitality and friendliness. It sends a message to the customer that you are willing to find a solution to whatever ails them. Put on a smile today.

5. Talk less, listen more

Every customer wants to feel important. They want to feel like they are being paid adequate attention. Cultivate the habit of listening. Note what’s important and what’s not so important. Jot some things down if necessary, so as not to miss any detail.

6. Effective mode of communication

Each customer comes with different temperament. Know how best to communicate with your customers bearing in mind that you can’t talk to all of them in the same manner. Know what works for who and apply appropriately. This would quell 90% of confrontations.

7. Show concern

No matter how high you rise in business, never be dismissive about your customers concern even if you know its unfounded. Take your time to explain it clearly until that worry is laid to rest.

With these tips, dealing with such tough customer(s) will be a breeze.

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