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Top 5 Strategies for Dealing with Difficult Customers

How To Deal With Difficult Customers

Dealing with difficult customers is another one of those ‘must-have’ skills for every business owner. All businesses, whether offering a product or a service, are bound to face dissatisfied or angry clients at some point. More so when you are in a delivery business in this age of booming e-commerce and mainly at the receiving end of customer wrath.

Whether unhappy, angry, or plain rude, a difficult customer is a tough nut to crack. But you can’t choose to ignore them either, fearing repercussions on your brand image or client base. These days, even one negative post or a video posted by such a customer can trigger an uproar on social media, instantly tarnishing your business’s reputation. 

According to a White House Office of Consumers Affairs report, 13% of unhappy customers tell more than 20 people about their poor experience with a brand. And according to a study by Accenture, 68% of consumers will never return once a company loses a customer.

However, no matter how stressed it can get, you can always turn your challenging customers into a happy and loyal bunch, only if you know the best way to handle difficult customers and provide a great customer experience. But before that, you need to know the types of customers you may encounter to deal with them effectively. 

5 Types of Angry Customers You May Face

The Eternally Impatient

You may find some consumers who are always impatient. They are not ready to wait even a second beyond the pre-scheduled time of delivery and do buy any logic for the delay either.

A delivery driver can get stuck in traffic and face an accident or harsh weather conditions, which could delay the deliveries. But an impatient customer simply won’t try and understand in most cases. Therefore, managing such demanding customers needs to be learned well beforehand.

The Messy Crowd

These customers can goof up while providing their correct shipping address, leading to a missed delivery. But often, such consumers are unaware of their mistakes and hold the delivery service provider responsible for not getting their products on time.

Managing such a customer type needs utmost care and concern to make them understand the real issue without pissing them off.

The Always Puzzled

This set of demanding customers is usually indecisive about their choices and often ends up having their expectations unmet. For instance, if a customer is unsure when they want the purchased item to be delivered or when they are available to collect it, the chances of delayed or missed delivery are higher. This, in turn, makes them angry and dissatisfied, with no fault from the business end.

Managing an indecisive customer is a pain and needs tactical effort to prevent further hassles.

The Constant Complainers

No matter how much effort the delivery personnel puts in, a segment of consumers would keep complaining. Be it about the delivery speed, the behavior of the delivery person, or even the product quality, such customers complain about anything and everything.

The Plain Bullies

No matter how good your delivery service is, there’s a set of consumers who love to bully. They will act rudely, misbehave, shout, or call names at the drop of an eyelid. Sometimes there’s not even an issue worth doing such things, and still, such difficult people would just bully you.

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How to Deal with Difficult Customers

Below are five ways to effectively handle upset customers.

1. Pay Close Attention to Detail

Every unhappy customer has a requirement that is unmet and needs to feel heard. That’s the source of the whole problem.

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Practice active listening to understand the pain point and pay attention to every detail they share. This would make the customers feel that their issues are being addressed and that you’re interested in finding a solution from your end, making them calm down.

2. Empathize with the Angry Customer

Don’t just focus on active listening; empathize. Dealing with difficult customers is easier when you assure them that you understand their plight. So, instead of apologizing for the issue they faced, ask questions to identify the customer’s problem source and convey that you care.

Often a conflict stems from a mere misunderstanding. Hence, empathizing will help comfort a disgruntled customer and prevent further conflict.

3. Stay Calm to Deal with Difficult Customers Effectively

No matter how much annoying behavior or difficult customer situations you face, you should remain calm. If you lose your cool and get aggressive, the situation may go out of your hand. Instead, calm body language, take a deep breath, think and talk in a friendly and low tone to ease the conflict and professionally handle the situation.

4. Do Not Take It Personally

Even if a customer becomes verbally abusive, the best way to deal with difficult customers is not to take it personally and to prevent getting hurt.

If you feel hurt, you may get angry, further complicating the scenario. Anxiety and tension are contagious behavior; angry remarks from your end will likely worsen the already tense situation. It won’t resolve the problem.

5. Agree to Some of the Terms of a Difficult Customer

When nothing works in sorting the issue with consumers, you can just give in to win back their hearts. Agreeing to customers’ terms can increase customer loyalty. Loyal customers will spread positive word of mouth, which might help you win other potential customers.

But there’s another catch. While giving in to the customer’s demand is easy, do not make false promises which you can’t keep. That would break your company’s image instead of making it.

Use a Route Planner to Make Your Customers Happy

You can apply several strategies to deal with difficult customers, but your aim should always be to ensure you never upset customers in the first place. This is where a route planner can help.

For example, the Route4Me route planner helps you plan well-optimized routes to ensure your drivers never get stuck on the road and make timely deliveries. And when shoppers get on-time deliveries, they can’t complain about delayed delivery.

The delivery route planner comes with a geocoding feature that flags and autocorrects any wrong addresses entered into the system. Hence, you never need to worry about failed deliveries due to incorrect addresses. Plus, the vehicle routing software offers a customer portal feature that lets consumers track their delivery status.

customer portal feature

You can also send notifications about delivery progress thru email, SMS, or voice call to customers with Route4Me’s customer notification and alerts feature. Both features ensure zero failed or missed deliveries because customers would know when to expect their delivery, and they will be available to collect the packages.

The best route planners like Route4Me have a GPS tracking feature that provides real-time visibility of your vehicle movements. So, if a driver meets unanticipated situations that could affect delivery, such as a vehicle breakdown, you would immediately know and inform the affected customer about the possible delays in advance.

However, you may never need to let customers know about any delays. Because Route4Me’s multi-stop route planner can help you re-optimize the route and ensure the affected deliveries are still made on time. Route4Me’s route optimizer even offers an eSignature feature to facilitate digital proof of delivery. Here are eight benefits of delivery scheduling software.

Final Thoughts about Dealing with Difficult Customers

We’ve all had them: the demanding customer who’s impossible to please, the one who always finds something to complain about, or the one who threatens to take their business elsewhere.

However, being a business owner, you must keep them happy to make your company successful. Follow the tips in this article and use a delivery route planner app to provide excellent customer service and improve customer satisfaction.

Route4Me

Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Boost Your Profits?

Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!

Start Free 7 Day Trial

About author: Parker Woodward

Parker Woodward has spent more than a thousand hours working directly with customers to understand their challenges and help them successfully implement Route4Me. Leveraging this experience he is a passionate writer and advocate of sharing knowledge and learned lessons that will benefit others. He is a Certified Routing Expert and his work with clients has translated into significant operational efficiency gains for the clients he works with. In addition to implementation he has managed multiple projects and product development cycles for new features and solutions to resolve client challenges; some of which include telematics, advanced optimizations, API integrations, and more.

Route4Me

About Route4Me

Route4Me has over 35,000 customers globally. Route4Me's Android and iPhone mobile apps have been downloaded over 2 million times since 2009. Extremely easy-to-use, Route4Me's apps create optimized routes, synchronize routes to mobile devices, enable communication with drivers and customers, offer turn-by-turn directions, delivery confirmation, and more. Behind the scenes, Route4Me's operational optimization platform combines high-performance algorithms with data science, machine learning, and big data to plan, optimize, and analyze routes of almost any size in real-time.