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How Can You Deal with Difficult Customers?

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Most of us have at least one difficult person in our lives. What’s more, if you own a small business you probably have several difficult people in your customer base right now. Here we delve into a brief review of several types of difficult customers. Which do you recognize? And how can you deal with such people?


As the owner of a small business, you likely need occasional breaks from the stress of dealing with difficult customers, vendors, and others. To this end, perhaps you enjoy watching live sports on TV. If you do, then sport betting odds might also be of interest to you.

On the other hand, maybe you prefer to play an active game of tennis. Or perhaps you are a member of your neighborhood’s softball team. Alternatively, you might enjoy quieter pursuits such as making dinner for friends, gardening, or simply reading a book.

Types of Difficult Customers

Let’s take a look at some different types of difficult customers and speculate about some ways to best deal with each one.

The Complainer

It can seem as if some customers just won’t be satisfied, no matter how great your product.

However, your best bet with a customer who isn’t happy with their purchase might simply be just to listen, really listen, to their complaint. They might have a valid point, after all. Perhaps if you truly listen, you’ll hear in their complaint an opportunity to improve your product or service.

So ask this difficult customer how you can make things right for them. And if no matter what you do they’re still dissatisfied, consider refunding their money.

The Deadbeat

Creatives who offer their services online can easily fall prey to the deadbeat. So, too, can those who own rental properties, as well as independent local contractors who work in the trades.


One way to short-circuit this type of difficult customer is to insist on partial upfront payment from all of your clients. Then once you have delivered your service you should expect to be paid in full. If the occasional deadbeat still catches you off-guard, consult with your attorney about a possible legal remedy.

The Fraudster

Online sellers can be vulnerable to fraudsters. One particularly galling type of this difficult customer is one who purchases an item from your e-commerce store and then returns it after using it, offering only the flimsiest of excuses.

The fraudulent customer differs from the complainer described above, whose complaints can be valid. However, it can sometimes be difficult for business owners to tell the difference between the two.

That’s why fraudsters continue to win at their games, even though their high jinks can be costly for legitimate retailers. Sadly, in order to maintain good customer relations with all of their customers, online retailers sometimes just accept occasional fraud as one of the costs of doing business.

If the problem persists, however, try to think of ways to tighten up your return policies without alienating your other customers.

The Indecisive One

Abandoned shopping carts are another significant problem for owners of e-commerce stores.

One of the most effective ways to deal with shopping cart abandonment is to target those customers with remarketing emails and other personalized approaches.

Also, make sure your shipping costs are reasonable and clearly visible. Ensure that your site’s pages load as quickly as possible and that you offer a guest check-out option. Finally, offer a money-back guarantee. This demonstrates that you believe in your product, and it can soothe the nerves of anxious buyers.

The Negotiator

Nearly every small-business owner runs into this type of difficult customer from time to time. No matter how reasonable your fee structure, they will ask for special treatment.

When it comes to the negotiator, it’s best just to show them the door. If you make the mistake of trying to work with them, they quite often become complainers, never satisfied with the quality of your product or service regardless of how many concessions you make.

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How to Take a Break from Difficult Customers

When you decided to go into business for yourself, surely you realized that you would have to deal with difficult customers occasionally. You’ll have more peace of mind if you learn to accept them as a part of the cost of doing business. Do what you can to control the damage to your business they can cause. Then find ways to relax, whether it’s through yoga and meditation or by watching sports on TV or by taking your chances with sport betting odds.