As a business owner, dealing with difficult customers is part of your job.
No matter how much you love your work, you can’t please everyone all of the time.
Demanding, emotional, and cranky customers are all part of the game, and they often cause considerable grief and frustration.
While the temptation might be to simply cut your losses and hang up, it can be more beneficial for your business reputation (and bottom line) to manage them in a better way.
In this article, we are going to share with you the 7 types of difficult customers you may encounter and how you can wisely handle them.
Table of contents:
- Aggressive customer
- Indecisive customer
- Impatient customer
- Highly critical customer
- Talkative customer
- Over-cautious customer
- Deal hunter customer
1. Aggressive Customer
Have you ever had an aggressive customer who acted like they were sent straight from hell?
In that case, you already know how angry, worked up, and frustrated can leave you with their unreasonable demands and inappropriate comments.
The aggressive customer often comes across as overly demanding, unpredictable, and self-centred, so it can be difficult to refrain from raising your voice and speaking loudly out of anger.
However, it’s best not to join them in a shouting match. There is nothing to be gained by responding in a similar manner.
How to handle the aggressive customer: It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong – You’re never going to win an argument with an aggressive customer.
So, the best way to handle them is to stay calm and be the first to apologise. Ask questions to better understand the problem and make your apology solution-oriented.
2. Indecisive Customer
As implied in the name, indecisive customers simply cannot make a decision. Despite how many questions they ask, they postpone their purchase decisions indefinitely.
It can be incredibly frustrating to see customers jumping between ideas with no clear sign of making a purchase decision.
While they’re often very polite, the indecisive customer is the classic time waster, and time spent with them is like throwing money away.
How to handle the indecisive customer: The key to dealing with this type of customer is to identify what the barrier to purchase is (e.g., price, quality, features, etc.)
When you know what their barrier to purchase is, it’s much easier to determine them to make a decision.
Remember that too many options can lead to choice paralysis, so it’s best not to stick to more than two options.
3. Impatient Customer
Impatient customers can be very difficult to deal with.
They are easily riled by anything and hate delays. This is the kind of customer who wants their problems to be solved immediately and expects you to be available anytime.
Typically, the most common reasons for customer impatience are long wait times and a lack of customer service effectiveness.
Without timely and efficient customer service, they’re very likely to jump ship to competitors.
How to handle the impatient customer: Even the most difficult customers deserve timely customer service. Do your best to serve all of your customers as quickly as possible.
Ideally, you should put in place strategies and processes to avoid situations that would get customers to the point of impatience. For example, if you answer your own phones, you risk missing calls (and losing customers) as you can’t possibly answer every single call.
You can prevent this from happening by getting someone else to answer your phones. For small businesses, virtual receptionists are a great phone answering solution that enables you to deliver timely, effective, 24/7 customer support.
4. Highly Critical Customer
This is the kind of customer who always finds fault in your product, services, or something else regarding your business.
Sure, there are many reasons why criticism can be good for your business: it prompts change in a product, enables growth, and improves delivery processes – just to name a few.
But when you find a particular customer who criticises your business for everything, it can be difficult to refrain from allowing personal emotions to affect your response – especially if they leave you negative reviews.
How to handle the highly critical customer: Let’s face reality – no one can satisfy all the customers all the time.
While it’s important to note that 51% of customers would leave your business after just one negative experience – you need to come to terms with the fact that highly critical customers are often impossible to satisfy.
All you can do is be attentive, give a sincere apology and offer a solution (if there are any valid complaints you are able to fix).
5. Talkative Customer
As a business owner, it can be extremely frustrating when your schedule is overfilled, but this customer just won’t stop talking.
Typically, customers who are excessive talkers tend to repeat themselves and frequently interrupt you. Sometimes, they even take the leadership of the sales discussion.
That happens because they are either frustrated and feel like they are not being listened to or they’re just looking for human interaction.
How to handle the talkative customer: A good strategy to effectively handle a talkative customer is to ask close-ended questions that require short answers.
These are ideal to use when you’re looking to keep the customer from elaborating on an issue.
Be sure to provide minimal response and use closing statements to get out of the conversation (e.g., “One final question for you…” or “Before we hang up, I need to make sure…”).
6. Over-Cautious Customer
Over-cautious customers want to gather as much information as possible about your business before making a purchase decision.
Just like the indecisive customer, the over-cautious customer asks many questions to find out precise information.
The only difference is that they’re overly suspicious and don’t seem to trust your business, no matter how much you try to build a positive online reputation.
They typically listen to you with raised eyebrows and quickly abandon their shopping cart if something doesn’t feel right, especially when it comes to entering payment details.
How to handle the over-cautious customer: Unfortunately, it’s challenging to build trust in the early stages of your business. Startups have an unproven track record, so you’ll have to exceed expectations numerous times to earn customers’ trust.
This might sound intimidating, but there are many ways for you to build and maintain trust: collecting positive reviews, increasing your online visibility and using a permanent business address in a prestigious location – just to name a few.
When interacting with over-cautious customers, avoid being pushy. Do your best to overcome barriers to trust by showing interest in their needs and giving simple and fact-based answers.
7. Deal Hunter Customer
The deal hunter customer seems to only be interested in the lowest price.
If there’s another business that sells for a lower price, chances are they’ll hop over there.
Unlike other types of customers, deal hunters are the most likely to buy something they don’t even need, just because the price is right.
They search for massive discounts, compare prices online and often buy in bulk, especially if free shipping is offered.
However, it can be frustrating having someone who always nags, haggles, and compares prices to competitors in an attempt to get a discount even on fixed-price items.
How to handle the deal hunter customer: Deal hunter customers can easily be turned into loyal customers if you create a “sale” or “discount” section on your website.
That way, they know they can always rely on you for a great deal.
You could even develop a customer loyalty program to encourage repeat purchases.
When interacting with a deal hunter, make sure you first get an idea of their budget range and then offer products and services that fit their budget.
Conclusion: Customers are the reason for any company to be in business, regardless of how difficult they are.
As a business owner, it’s your job to maintain an even and friendly tone when dealing with difficult or angry customers and take the appropriate steps to defuse them.
Once you’ve identified which customer type you’re dealing with, it becomes easier to cater responses based on their behaviour patterns.
Always remember that your ability to intelligently deal with difficult customers will lead to a positive reputation for your business, less stress, and greater sales.
Premium customer service always pays back in terms of your business’s reputation and revenue. B2B HQ’s professional virtual receptionists will help you satisfy even the most demanding customers so you can improve customer relationships and positively impact your business’s bottom line. Contact B2B HQ today to get the virtual reception service package that best fits your needs.