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Sensitivity in Dealing with Customers

“I am everyday people.”

Sly and the Family Stone

Customer service professionals will inevitably interact with customers who provide specific kinds of challenges. Becoming sensitive to the types of customers you will deal with and developing strategies for specific customer situations will make those difficult customer situations less challenging. This module offers examples of the types of challenging customers that you will face, along with specific approaches that can make those interactions not only less challenging, but more rewarding as well.

Customers who are Angry

Dealing with a customer who is angry requires patience and the utmost care in managing your own mood. An angry customer can discombobulate you or arouse your own anger. Here are some steps you can take when handling an angry customer:

Customers who are Rude

 A customer who is rude to you can make it very difficult for you to do your job. Rude and abusive comments can be discombobulating. In addition to implementing the suggestions above for handling an angry customer, you may have to take additional steps to handle customers who are rude and abusive to you. Here are some suggestions:

Customers who Cannot be Satisfied

There are times when you will have to interact with a customer who won’t be satisfied no matter what you do. It may be impossible to find a resolution that customers who have this mindset are happy with. Nevertheless, you still must try. As with any other type of challenging customer, your first step is to remain calm and function in the Adult mode throughout the transaction. Here are some additional strategies:

Case Study

Eddie stormed into the car parts shop and stopped in front of Daniel, a sales associate. Eddie was red-faced and when Daniel asked how he could help Eddie, Eddie replied, “You better believe you’re going to help me. I’ve been back to the shop three times to buy this same part, and you idiots keep selling me the wrong part!”

Daniel apologised for Eddie’s experience, and Eddie replied, “Yeah, well I’m sorry all you’re all a bunch of incompetent idiots. You going to help me or are you another incompetent?”

Daniel took a deep breath, paused for a second, and then looked Eddie in the eye and smiled. Daniel said, “Well, Eddie, you’re in luck because they discontinued our incompetency training sessions before I started working here, so I’m sure we can get it right.”

Daniel’s smile and joke made Eddie smile for a second, and then he said, “A wise guy, huh? Well, just fix my problem.”

Daniel asked Eddie what vehicle he had, then re-examined the part Eddie was returning. Daniel realised that the part had been put in the wrong place, so that all the parts hanging there were the wrong ones. “Let me find the right part in the back,” Daniel said, and then found the correct part and brought it out. He compared the part with the other one and confirmed that he was giving Eddie the correct part. “If you have the car in the carpark, I can come with you and make certain that this is the right part.”

Eddie agreed and they went out to the carpark to test the new part.

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