how to deal with difficult customers

How To Deal With Difficult Customers: 6 Ways To Get Answers

Do you deal with many difficult customers in your small business?

When you run a small business, especially in the services industry, how do you help your customers when you can’t reach them?

After all, you just landed that perfect client after doing proposals and showing them what you can do for them.

Next, you have helped them along for a few months but you need to ask them a few questions. However, they are nowhere to be found now!

Recently this question came up on Reddit and at that moment I knew I was not alone!

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1. How to Reach a Difficult Customer

Getting in touch with your clients after servicing them can be difficult at times. Most small business owners, I’ve found over the years are very busy people.

In the old days when I visited them in person, I used to chase them around their store or business as they took other phone calls and worked with their own clients at their own store.

It was a time-consuming task!

Fast forward to a few years ago, they don’t return any phone calls and are not answering emails unless something goes wrong, right?

In the old days when I visited them in person, I used to chase them around their store or business as they took other phone calls and worked with their own clients at their own store. #smallbiztips Click To Tweet

2. Find Which Method of Communication Your Difficult Customer Prefers

Learning how your clients like to communicate is very important today as there are so many more choices than ever before. I’ve found in recent years many clients now like to receive texts.

Other communication methods may include:

*Phone Calls

*Texts

*Emails

*Messaging Apps

*Voice Mails

*Tweets

*Other Social Media Outlets

*Old Fashion Mail / Cards

They can answer from anywhere, save time on a telephone call and get the answers they need asap. But still, other clients prefer the old fashion phone call.

As a matter of fact, some of my clients miss phone conversations and crave that one phone call!

However, learn which method your difficult customers prefer to be contacted today.

Everyone is different, and you will have to learn which way they want to be reached for your answers to better serve them. Knowing which way to contact someone may be the best way to know how to deal with difficult customers.

Learning how your clients like to communicate is very important today as there are so many more choices than ever before. #communication Click To Tweet

3. Set a Time Limit for Your Difficult Customers to Reach Them

Beforehand let them know how much of their time you will need. Oftentimes, a small business owner is overwhelmed and can’t spare another minute. I’ve been there and done that too!

Show a little empathy toward them and give them a short time limit.

Then, let them know exactly what it is you need. That’s the best way to generate a response from them.

Of course, remind your difficult customers that you are HELPING them with their business.

4. Don’t Overstep Your Time Boundaries with Difficult Clients

Once you do reach that difficult client do not take advantage of their time! The next time you need to reach out they will avoid you like the plague!

Think about that person who talks, talks, talks, do you answer their every call? Don’t let that be YOU.

Keep it short, sweet and to the point, unless your client opens up and wants to talk. That happens sometimes too in this highly connected world.

Hence, they may be tired of all their emails and texts and may want to actually talk with you as well.

However, try not to interfere with their much-needed break time either. Many a time I was at a client who had family or pets visiting.

For them, that was their break and precious time.

Think about that person who talks, talks, talks, do you answer their every call? Don’t let that be YOU. #businesstips Click To Tweet

5. Don’t Take Your Difficult Customers Too Personally

Don’t feel like it’s just you with your difficult customers. You will grow to resent them if you do. Try to put yourself in their shoes.

Then, you will grow to love each and every one of them 🙂 Empathy can go a long way to resolving relationship issues even in business. Be aware that many customers really think they are right.  No one wants to be told that they are wrong either!

6. Always Stay Calm with Difficult Customers

Some difficult customers just need a little extra patience. They may not be trying to be difficult, they may just need some help understanding what you’re trying to tell them. So take a deep breath and be patient with them.

Furthermore, if you’re not sure what the problem is, or what the customer wants, ask questions. It’s better to ask a few questions and get the information you need than to try to guess and end up getting it wrong.

It can be difficult to keep your cool when dealing with a difficult customer, but it’s important to try. Losing your temper will only make the situation worse and could damage your relationship with the customer.

Even if the customer is being rude, it’s important to remain calm and polite. This can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that the customer is not the enemy. You want to resolve the situation, not make it worse.

Your Turn

How do you reach that difficult client today in this busy over-messaging world we live in? Do you know how to deal with difficult customers? 

I’d love to know more about how you deal with difficult customers in the comments below. ⬇

2 thoughts on “How To Deal With Difficult Customers: 6 Ways To Get Answers”

  1. Hi Lisa, be presented with empathy always works, great advice.
    Practicing to be calm and sending away the anger works well too while dealing with tough customers. It allows you to think open-mindedly and take rational decisions. If someone is a business owner, then this should be a mandatory skill that needs to be adapted. At the same time, preparing your staff for the same is also important – conducting role-play sessions helps staff to be comfortable dealing with such customers.

    1. Hi Mudassir, welcome to Small Biz Tips! Yes, I love the part about being calm. That always helps in any situation – whether work or personal. There is no need to go flying off the handle even if the customer or other person does. Remain calm! I like preparing your staff to do the same – great training will go far. Thanks for your valuable points on this one Mudassir and make it a great day there!

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