How to deal with difficult customers

Dealing with difficult customers can be… well, difficult!

If you and your team find yourselves in less-than-pleasant shopper interactions, having a plan is useful so you are better equipped to handle these situations with ease and grace.

Prep yourself mentally – Having the right mental attitude will help prevent your buttons from getting pushed and enable you to respond in a calm and professional manner. Remind yourself that the shopper isn’t necessarily mad at you, but at the situation.

Really listen to the customer and empathise with them – Put yourself in their shoes and understand that they’re having a difficult time as well. This will help you be more patient and compassionate, and ultimately handle the situation successfully.

Be discreet – If possible, don’t deal with the situation in a public place, like the sales floor. Invite the customer to speak to you privately (such as your office) and go from there.

Be aware of your non-verbal cues – What you DON’T say speaks volumes. Be mindful of the non-verbal cues that you give off. Actions such as rolling your eyes, looking bored, and pointing your fingers, can aggravate the situation.

Compensate for their discomfort if necessary – Taking this step isn’t always necessary and depends on the situation. For instance, if the issue is due to an error on your part, can you do something extra for the customer? – such as giving a freebie as a way to apologise.