Tips on Handling Difficult Customers

by Neen

1. Don’t take it personally – remember when a customer complains they are unhappy with the product or your company – not you.

2. Remember you are good at your job – remind yourself of the skills you have and why you are working there. Don’t allow customers to make you feel inadequate.

3. Write down their complaint or concern – show the customer you are listening by recording their problem and if you are on the phone, tell the customer you are writing down all the details.

4. Ask a supervisor to join you and be part of the transaction – if the customer is becoming more difficult, invite a supervisor to join you and the customer will notice you are treating them as important by seeking additional help.

5. Debrief the situation with someone else when the customer leaves – sometimes you may need to talk to someone about your difficult customer to debrief and get rid of any negative thoughts and emotions you may have – this is a very important step.

6. Learn stress management techniques – this may help you stay calm if a customer raises their voice or becomes emotional. By learning to breath deeply, focus on the positives and also ensure your body doesn’t carry stress you will be able to handle these difficult customers easily.

7. Recognise and accept you will work with customers who have bad days – understand when you are working with the public some people take their bad days out on you – it is not personal.

8. Consider what you could do differently next time – if the customer is complaining about a company system or process, take some time to review this and determine if this might need to be changed. Think about the way you handled the customer and note anything you would do differently next time.

9. Don’t lash out at those around you – if you have had a difficult customer don’t take it out on those around you at work or at home. They don’t deserve it.

10. Remember without customers you don’t have a job – even though sometimes they can be difficult, it is your customers who provide the revenue for the business that employs you. Treat each customer with respect and understand they have good and bad days.

You will make a big difference to your business by learning how to handle difficult customers.

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  1. i am in the food business, a customer complained of being food poisoned, they went back to the store and after 10 days and demanded that they be refunded of their expenses amounting to 50th pesos, this is only about group of 6 persons, all friends, no other complaints were received during that day, they are now threaening to go to the barangay and eventually to media, can u give me suggestions on how to approach the problem, should pay or not and wait whatever repurcussion might come.this has me so much stress, because this is the first time this happened since we opened the business 15 years ago. thank you very much.

  2. Hi!i have been in the food business for about 15years, about may 6 2009, a lady went to the store with a bunch of lab test results and receipts amounting to 50th pesos, and demanded that their group of 6 who were complaining of being food poisoned, no other complaints were received from that day, they demanded that they be refunded of their medical bills, or else they will go to the barangay of the media, i don't know what to do, should i pay or not and wait for whatever repercussions may come. she has been calling almost every other day and my answer is that I will talk about this wt the family, so far that was what i have done , she said the last time we talked that she was willing to accept a smaller amount. thank you very much.

  3. hi! i have been in the restaurant business for about 15 years now, 3 weeks ago a lady came to the store with a bunch of medical bills and tests amounting to about 50th pesos, they said they wanted a refund because they were food poisoned allegedly from our product, this is the first time this happened and i dont know what to do, whether to pay or not, she has said she was willing to settle for a lower amount. please help, Thank you

  4. hi gd, i would suggest you consult a lawyer on this. you should not let customers bring you medical receipts and let them claim for refund. Or else, everyone will eat in your restaurant - and claim the same.

    Ask for a medical report clearly stipulating that the person was poisoned through a certain food your restaurant serve. They might have been poisoned somewhere else. Besides claim for poisoning should be made right after ( within a few hours)eating - not days after. If you have any doubts - ask your lawyer what to do.


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