5 Ways To Handle A Tough Customer Service Situation


I’ve always done a pretty good job of living up to my name. Whether I’m embarrassed, nervous or just warm, I’ll blush.

That’s why one of my previous jobs in retail could often lead to a very rosy-faced Rosie: I seemed to get stuck with every difficult customer.

One particular incident has always stuck in my mind. I was a wide-eyed high school student working a sales position in a photography store and I had yet to experience such a difficult customer.

This customer mumbled his request to me and followed my request that he repeated himself by yelling into my ear. My manager had gone to the back and I was alone at the store front. I took a deep breath and proceeded to help the customer with his request, which is when he started to belittle my performance.

When he finally left the store, my manager emerged from the back and asked me why I was bright red with tears in my eyes and then offered me some words of wisdom for dealing with particularly difficult or rude customers:

1. Stay calm. This gives the customer fewer reasons to be rude and also help you keep control of your emotions.

2. Don’t retaliate or argue. You don’t want to make the customer any more aggravated.

3. Try to empathize. Remember the quotation: “Be kind; everyone is fighting their own battle.” While it might seem that this person is trying to ruin your day, you don’t know the kind of day they’ve had.

4. Don’t let it get you down. Like I said above, while it seems totally wrong that the customer might be taking their bad day out on you, chances are that if you’ve done nothing to provoke the customer then their behaviour is probably nothing personal.

5. Most importantly, if someone is being really rude to you then get your manager. If you’ve been upholding the reputation of your employer and acting as a good customer service representative then you shouldn’t be treated poorly and your manager will know how to diffuse the situation.

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