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Entrepreneur

Tips on Dealing with Difficult Customers
By Tom Irmen

So is the customer always right? Most small business owners don’t believe so.

But just how should you deal with a difficult customer? Probably the best way is to avoid creating the circumstances that can result in these seemingly hopeless situations in the first place.

Is your product or service the right product or service for the client? If not, avoid the temptation to make the sale for the sale’s sake.


Does the client fully understand all of the details of the transaction? Taking five minutes upfront to go over all of the relevant details can avoid the countless hours spent later resolving a dispute and the damage that can result to your business’ reputation.


Let’s face it, some people are hard to get along with. Occasionally, and I can’t explain why, there seems to be poor chemistry between a client and small business owner. Sort of good karma, bad karma. Although your instincts may tell you to act otherwise, you might be better off not to pursue the sale.

If you’ve done all of the above, and if a problem should occur, here are some tips for you to consider.

A problem is not necessarily a bad thing. You can use the opportunity to demonstrate to your client that you stand behind your product or service. Try to turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one, where a now satisfied client tells friends and family just how great their experience was with your small company. Every business experiences occasional problems, but surprisingly, few of them elect to take the high road when attempting to resolve the problem.

My first recommendation is to listen with empathy to your customer’s issue without interrupting.

Avoid raising your voice or arguing. Approach the situation calmly. Don’t take it personally.

Find a common ground. While it may cost you financially, this small cost may prove to be significantly less expensive than the negative publicity that could result.

Pretend that all of your very best customers are watching you resolve this customer’s complaint.

Finally, summarize what you’ve agreed upon, and then do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it.

Most customer related complaints are avoidable with proper communication and full disclosure. But when problems do occur, the above tips can help you to earn a satisfied customer and loyal ally. Take the high road.

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