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Dealing with difficult customers

by Max Al Farakh · Apr 9 2015

For the most part, our customers are pleasant and reasonable people. I'm sure your customers are the same. However every once in a while there comes a customer who is hard to deal with. He is annoyed, upset or maybe even plain rude. Here is how we handle complicated situations at Jitbit.

Be at your best

Talking to a difficult customer is arguably one of the most complicated situations that you would have to deal with as a helpdesk technician. Unleash your arsenal: use better words, listen carefully, be polite and empathetic. Basically, you need to be the nicest guy they ever talked to. Be so good that it would be impossible for them to stay mad.

You should also remember that, as we said before, this is the place where you can convert an annoyed customer who's ready to quit into one of the most loyal ones you have. It depends on how you deal with it. All our previous articles have been preparing you for this moment.

Start with an apology

We have an excellent article on how to apologize. Of course, you have to fix the problem as fast as possible, but a good apology is crucial too.

Here is the checklist again:

  1. Listen carefully
  2. Say "thank you" and "sorry" many times
  3. Take the full blame.
  4. Explain what happened and what's being done to resolve the issue. Don't dumb it down.
  5. Depending on an issue, you can offer something to the customer to make up for it.
  6. Thank the customer for using your product and for bearing with you while you resolved the issue.

Don't take it personally

It is easy to get emotional and screw everything up. I am particularly bad at this kind of situations. An irritated customer starts being rude, I take it personally and write rude responses. There is nothing worse you can do. You've got to stay professional.

Customers can be rude and even sometimes insulting. You can't. If you feel overwhelmed with emotions, just take five and come back to that ticket later.

Delegate it to someone else

If you, like I often do, screw it up, it is a good thing to pass the ticket to someone else. Our head support guy Vlad is way better at this than I am – he always stays calm and professionally deals with every situation. When I feel that I'm starting to lose control, I immediately assign the ticket to him in our helpdesk system.

The customer is happy that the idiot he was dealing with (me) is replaced with a nice guy and everybody wins.

You don't need every single customer

I'm just going to say it – some people are total assholes. Sometimes these people buy software and need support. You are better off without these people as your customers.

They will drive you mad, and it is just not worth it. Usually, you can easily identify them, and it's best not to deal with them at all. "Sorry about that. Here is your refund. Have a nice day". Done.