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Managing Difficult Customers: Best Practices for Tackling Challenging Situations

Just about every customer service professional has had to deal with a really difficult customer. Maybe they were shouting at you, or perhaps they were being passive-aggressive. Or maybe they were even swearing at you.

This is a normal part of the job, and it’s one that customer service professionals can handle. But it’s also a part of the job that’s difficult for a reason — it’s not easy to remain calm and professional when a customer is being aggressive or rude.

If you’re new to customer service, dealing with difficult customers can be particularly daunting. But even if you’ve been working in the industry for years, you may be able to improve your approach to handling these interactions.

In this guide, we’ll go over some of the best practices for dealing with difficult customers. By the end, you’ll have a better idea of how to handle these challenging situations and turn them into positive experiences.

1. Keep your cool

This may be the most important tip of all. When a customer is upset, it’s easy to take their words personally. But remember, they’re most likely upset with the situation, not you.

It’s important to stay calm and collected throughout the conversation. If you’re too emotional, it can lead to an escalation of the situation, which is the last thing you want.

If you need to, take a deep breath and count to 10. This can help you keep your cool and respond to the customer in a professional manner.

2. Listen to what the customer is saying

When a customer is upset, it’s easy to get defensive. However, the last thing a frustrated customer wants to hear is an excuse or a reason why they’re wrong.

Instead, let the customer talk and really listen to what they’re saying. This shows that you respect their opinion and that you’re taking the time to understand the problem. It also gives you the information you need to address the issue and come up with a solution.

If the customer is angry and yelling, let them get it out of their system. Don’t interrupt them, and don’t try to talk over them. Just listen. Once they’ve calmed down, you can ask questions and start working on a solution.

3. Acknowledge their concerns

The last thing a customer wants to hear when they’re upset is a dismissive, “I understand how you feel.” That’s because, unless you’ve experienced the exact same issue, you don’t understand how they feel. You also don’t want to give the impression that you’re trying to make light of their situation by comparing it to something you’ve been through.

Instead, you should acknowledge the customer’s concerns by using language that shows them you’re taking them seriously. Phrases like, “That sounds really frustrating,” or, “I’m sorry to hear that you’re having trouble with this,” show empathy and help you build rapport with the customer. You can generate more using Joyland AI or get inspired with best Instagram captions

If you’re not sure what to say, try putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and think about what you would want to hear in that situation.

4. Apologize when necessary

Even if you don’t believe you or your company are in the wrong, an apology can go a long way. It’s a simple way to acknowledge the customer’s feelings and can help to defuse a tense situation.

You can apologize for the customer’s experience without saying you’re sorry for your actions. For example, you might say, “I’m sorry you’re upset,” or “I’m sorry you’re feeling that way.” This can help you empathize with the customer without taking blame for something that’s not your fault.

5. Find a solution

It’s not enough to acknowledge the problem and apologize. You need to take it a step further and find a solution to the issue. This might mean replacing a product, offering a refund, or giving the customer a discount on their next purchase.

Make sure you are empowered to offer a solution to the customer. This may require getting approval from a manager or supervisor, but you should do your best to resolve the issue in a timely manner.

6. Ask for feedback

If you’ve had a particularly difficult interaction with a customer and you’re not sure how it went, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. A short survey can help you understand a lot about what you did well and where you might need to improve. For example, you can ask how they like your new Instagram story viewer feature. 

It can also help you build trust with the customer, as it shows that you’re committed to providing the best possible experience.

7. Know when to say goodbye

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t win a customer over. In these cases, it’s okay to politely end the conversation and move on. Let the customer know you appreciate their feedback and that you’re sorry you couldn’t resolve the issue to their satisfaction. Then, offer to transfer them to a manager or supervisor who may be able to assist further.

If you don’t have a manager or supervisor available, you can also let the customer know that you’ll follow up with them later. This allows you to end the conversation while still leaving the door open for future communication. Just be sure to get the customer’s contact information and follow up with them in a timely manner.


Ultimately, dealing with difficult customers is an art that’s perfected with time and experience. It takes a lot of patience, empathy, and the ability to stay positive in the face of negativity.

But by following the tips mentioned in this article, you can feel more prepared to handle challenging situations as they arise.



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