Helping Your Team to Deal with Difficult Clients in a Positive Way

Dealing with difficult customers in varying degrees is perhaps what every consultant goes through every day. Unfortunately, it is an inevitable part of doing business. Businesses that understand this concept and handle it the right way reap major benefits such as customer satisfaction and retention. If for instance a client calls in yelling, complaining, and ranting out of control from dissatisfied to downright angry, most consultants may fail to know how to react to such a troublesome situation.

The client could be complaining about undelivered products. At such a point, it is necessary to observe several concepts of dealing with the client. One, the consultant could choose to apologize for the inconvenience. Two, the consultant could choose to pass the blame to a different team within the organization. Many times, consultants do not have a clue of how to handle such situations. This is where CEOs come in to help solve the puzzle. So, what techniques should be applied to disarm unhappy clients and win them over?

Listen Actively

What many teams do is try to argue with angry clients. Remember that every aggressive client wants to be heard. Let them have their say even when it’s obvious they are wrong. Many businesses tend to think that they solve the problem by firing the client. Note that when clients have a good experience with a company they talk to three or more people. When they are dissatisfied they talk about their experience to more than ten people. This could badly hurt your business.

The bigger risk is that the client’s anger could be heard through legal channels which could be devastating for sole proprietors. When talking to a belittled client, nothing could fire up the rage than feeling their anger is ignored. Allow the client to let all anger out without interrupting. By the end of their ranting, they expect a solution. This is why the consultant must listen actively to understand the cause of their anger and build trust. The solution must be delivered fully and creatively to satisfy the customer.

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Be Measurable

Even with legitimate concerns, some clients may be looking for a venue to unload, and that might be your business. Such clients tend to generalize problems with statements such as:

  • You never make your deliveries on time.
  • Nothing is right about your company.
  • All your products are of poor quality.

In such a situation, the consultant must not react negatively by being forceful. Coming out as forceful only blocks every possibility of negotiations. The best move is to ask the client to be a little more specific on what troubles them. When dealing with such clients the best bet is using specifics.


Consultancy is about demonstrating empathy. Empathy is demonstrated through body language, eye contact, and verbal cues when engaging the client. Once the concerns of the client are understood, empathy must be expressed. The biggest complaint of customers when dealing with customer service is that they are not given sufficient understanding or any sympathy for their plight. This is where training for corporate sales professionals comes in. Companies need professional agents who can respond by showing customers they realize there is an issue causing inconvenience, to create customer satisfaction almost immediately. Demonstrating compassion and care goes a long way.

Never take it Personally

When dealing with an abusive client, it is vital to stay calm and not be triggered to defend yourself against the personal attack. Arguing back only escalates the situation in a negative swing. Never get personal even when the customer is. It is necessary to remember the client is only venting frustration at the company through the representative. Guiding the conversation towards resolving the problem and ignoring personal comments is the best way to go.

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Every business has unruly clients. Some may criticize everything the company does; others may be draining, while others are slow to pay. With unsatisfied customers, it requires a team to look for strategies to deal with the situation instilling self-restraint and learning how to react in conflict. At the end of the conversation, it’s all about creating satisfaction and presenting excellent customer service.

This guest post is courtesy of Dennis Hung.

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