The person you are dealing with may be angry and difficult at the time.

But remember, they are human. With the feelings and emotions that come with that.  No matter what the provocations are, always treat them with respect and never ever as a number.


  • The ABC of Customer Service.

The ‘Human Factor’ of customer care becomes important when dealing with difficult individuals.

It is as simple as understanding the ABC of customer service. Utilising this good practice will make you stand out for all the right reasons.

The ‘ABC’ of customer service stands for ‘Attitude, Behaviour & Competence’. In an ideal world, you need to excel in all three areas.


  • Understand Why

There are often reasons why people become difficult customers.

In general, it’s because they feel that no-one is listening to their concerns.

No one is understanding their issues.

Or their frustrations are being ignored.

A powerful, yet simple, way to help the situation is to listen.

Allow your customer to explain in full what it is that has upset or displeased them. Allow them to rant. Allow them to get it off their chest!



Like the Incredible Hulk, your customer might just have built up rage that they just need to get out.


  • Keep Perspective.

Keep things in perspective.

Do not take the comments of the difficult customer personally.

What you might regard as rudeness on their part, may simply be their complete and utter frustration.

Unfortunately, you just happen to be on the receiving end of it!


  • Don’t Argue.

Under no circumstances will it help you to deal with a difficult customer if you argue back.

If you make excuses.

‘Pass the buck’.

Match wits.

Or in any way devalue or invalidate their comments.

As tempting as it may be to go there, don’t do it… EVER!


  • Empathise. Don’t sympathise.

Empathise with the customer rather than sympathise.

You do not and cannot understand how they feel because you are not them. You have no idea what is going on in their world.

Yet, you can appreciate how they might feel about things.

A subtle but meaningful difference.


  • Remain Safe.

If a difficult customer becomes aggressive towards you, to the point where you feel threatened, you need to take a physical step back.

If possible, always call on someone for assistance.

Never put yourself at risk.



If you see customer service as a boxing match, it could end up becoming one.


These thoughts on Dealing with Difficult Customers are provided in no particular order.  This generic good practice is aimed at dealing more effectively with difficult customers in any environment.  The advice is simple and often the only requirements are for very subtle attitude or behaviour changes.

Apply these tips in the future to enhance your abilities and results when Dealing with Difficult Customers.