How to Handle Difficult Customers as a Business Owner

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship Startup Advice / June 13, 2013


You must fire bad customers just as you would fire a bad employee. If you do not get rid of your bad employees, the good employees will leave. If I do not fire bad customers, not only will my good customers leave but many of my good employees will leave as well.”

Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad

If you know how to handle difficult customers, would you mind raising your hand?

Hmm… It seems not so many of us really know how to handle and keep difficult customers happy.

Let me ask you a question: If you were to be the CEO of a Coffee firm and a customer slaps your employee for having served a hot tea, what would you do?

Or, let me put it the other way round:

How do you handle ‘’BIG HEADED’’ customers that refuse to listen?

How do you handle the angry ones and still keep them loyal to you?

Read on to find answers to these questions…

There’s a usual saying among entrepreneurs and small business owners that the customer is always right, which is true; but from my own perspective, I don’t believe that the customer is always right.

To back up my claim, here’s a quote from the book, ‘’Rich Dad, Poor Dad’’

You must fire bad customers just as you would fire a bad employee. If you do not get rid of your bad employees, the good employees will leave. If I do not fire bad customers, not only will my good customers leave but many of my good employees will leave as well.”

Personally, I believe it’s our duty as CEO’S, business owners, managers, entrepreneurs, employees and customer service reps, to make the customers feel right.

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Take it or leave it: without the customer, there’s no business.

Pleasing a difficult customer isn’t a hard thing as some people think it is. In fact, I consider it to be the easiest thing any body can do; all you just need is to understand the mind and feelings of the customer.

Don’t Wear a Frown, smile…

Some people find it hard to smile; in fact, smiling seems to be a sin to some people (especially in Africa where I reside). If you don’t love smiling, then forget about becoming a business owner—because it you won’t succeed.

Never frown when dealing with customers, because smiling goes a long way to convince customers that you’re willing to hear them out.

Pro tip: Note this down in your dairy:

‘’never allow a difficult customer put you into a sad mood; never’’!

Daniel Adetunji

Talk Less, Listen More…

When dealing with difficult or aggrieved customers, a good rule of thumb is to talk less and listen more.

Never interrupt when they’re trying to express themselves. In fact, allow them voice out their thoughts before you speak.

Why must you do all these?

Every human wants to be loved, heard, and attended to; it’s the same with your customers.

Listening and giving them your full attention is a way to show that you care about their opinions.

Never exchange words or argue with customers.

Never allow any issue lead to you exchanging or arguing with customers.

Let me use this as an example:

I was in a Bank recently, (actually, I wanted to withdraw some funds), and suddenly, a man came in front of me shouting, wailing, and saying all kinds of things like,

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‘’ I’ve been here for 3 hours because I want to withdraw, which kind of Bank is this”

I’m going to withdraw all my funds from this bank’’.

I was expecting the Cashier to attack him but rather, he attended to him and apologized for the delay.

Do you think the man would still consider transferring his funds from the bank?

Definitely no.

When you argue with customers, there’s a psychological effect; and even though you may be right; it’s believed that the customer is always right (even though it’s not true sometimes)..

Your Mode of Communication Matters…

Let me start off this with J.C Penny’s quote:

The well satisfied customer will bring the repeat sale that counts.

I concur with the above quote; I believe all satisfied customers will always repeat sales but how do you communicative effectively with difficult customers?

Make it a habit to develop a close relationship with your customers; this helps identify difficult customers and it’d give you some hints on how to better deal with them.

Consider the customer. When trying to solve a problem with an angry customer, try asking yourself, questions like,

If I’m the one in this customers’ position, what will my reaction be? Will I be happy?

Pro tip: by putting yourself in the customer’s shoes, you’ll be able to handle the situation

Examine your words

Words are like, swords of the spirit; they’re powerful and sharper than any two edged sword.

Don’t talk anyhow to your customers; think before you talk. The type of things you say determine how far you’ll go with your customers

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I’ve got to end this!

I know dealing with difficult customers isn’t quite an easy thing to do, but you must learn to do it for the sake of your business.

I believe the above tips will help you a long way in dealing with difficult customers.

What are your thoughts concerning this post?

Do you have difficult customers? How have you been able to retain them?

I’d like to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section

See you at the top!

Daniel Adetunji is a Ghostwriter, Freelance Writer and Guest blogger who’s currently for hire.  He also helps business owners drive traffic and leads with written words.  If he’s not found writing or blogging, you can hook him up via Facebook.

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About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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