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5 types of difficult customers & how to manage them

Door Renée Müller

1.3 min read

9 November 2021

difficult customers

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In a perfect world, all products are sold quickly and easily to well-informed, happy customers who are over the moon. Unfortunately, this is not the world we live in. At the customer service you will encounter numerous customers, including those who leave you frustrated and angry. Who are these difficult customers and how do you deal with them properly?

In this article, we discuss the 5 most difficult customers and give you some inspiration on how you can easily and effectively deal with them. Which ones do you recognise?

The 5 most difficult customers & tips on how to deal with them

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1. The Indecisive

The most innocent personality is the indecisive customer. The trickiest thing about this customer is that they always need to be more than 100% sure that they are getting the best for their money.

No matter how frustrating, no matter how much information you give them, they will always have doubts.

These customers are afraid to make a mistake. You see this a lot with students who need help with their studies. They want you to help them with their thesis, but they are so afraid of getting a low grade that they keep asking questions and seeking confirmation.

How do you deal with this?

  • One way to turn an indecisive customer into a buyer is to identify the main pain point. Once you know that, you know exactly what you need to act on to speed things up.
  • You can also offer them a better deal, such as a free trial, discount, special price or money-back guarantee. Make sure you give them some kind of assurance.
  • 2. The know-it-all

    Another type of customer that really takes all the energy out of your team is the know-it-all. This customer knows everything and is convinced that you really have nothing new to say.

    The biggest problem in a conversation with this customer is that he always wants to dominate the conversation. He talks a lot. And sometimes he even gets cheeky and rude.

    But the most difficult thing about this customer is his attitude, which makes it difficult to identify what he really wants from you.

    How do you deal with it?

    • Don’t get into a discussion. Do you disagree with something? Say: ‘You’re right, but have you thought about this?
    • Stroke their ego. These customers love compliments, so use that to your advantage.

    Also read: how to deal with angry customers on the phone

    3. The Eternal Complainant

    One thing you have to understand: customers complain and that’s fine. People are not easily satisfied (and the Dutch are champions at being sour). Annoying customers are part of the game. Complaints help you grow sustainably, because they often provide constructive feedback.

    But there are those customers who just keep on nagging and that can be terribly tiresome. In some strange way, those people are just never satisfied, no matter how hard you try.

    It can be difficult, if not impossible, to make them happy.

    How do you deal with them?

    • Remember that you can never make everyone happy. Accept this and just do your best, it will make your life easier
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    • The most important thing is to show complaining customers that you really do care. Often, simply listening and paying attention is enough
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      Be polite, calm and always keep smiling

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    4. The Customer Without Borders

    The Borderless Customer can be terribly irritating. These people will keep you busy even after office hours or wake you up early at the weekend to chat about something unimportant.

    These people have no respect for other people’s boundaries and expect you to always be there for them straight away.

    How do you deal with them?

    • The best way to deal with this type of person is to set your boundaries early on. For example, say that you won’t respond to e-mails or phone calls at the weekend. Do they call? Then do not answer, because then the gate of the dam.

    5. The Aggressive

    The most difficult customers are the aggressive ones. They are critical, rude, impatient, disrespectful and show their anger to you without batting an eyelid. A customer like that is, of course, a gigantic load of stress.

    But they do have the potential to become loyal customers, but you need to know how to deal with them.

    How do you deal with them?

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    • Don’t push your point when they are still angry. This will only fan the flames more
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    • Don’t engage aggressively
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    • Be calm, apologise and show that you are willing to solve the problem
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    • Return to the customer when they have calmed down to resolve the dispute
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    People have many different personalities and your customers are really no exception.

    You may encounter difficult characters in your customer service and only time can teach you how to deal with them properly.

    Any call centre agent will tell you that dealing with rude or difficult customers is one of the most difficult aspects of working in a call centre – especially since agents answer such calls almost every day.

    It is made even more difficult by the fact that agents must respond to such calls with professionalism, confidence and composure.

    Hopefully, after reading this article, you will find it a little easier to understand your customers. Follow the tips and you will see that you will have a better relationship with your customers. Good luck to you!

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