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6 Tips on How to Deal with Rude Customers
Emily Randolph
written by
Emily Randolph
last updated
June 20, 2020
6 Tips on How to Deal with Rude Customers

Unfortunately, pleasant customers aren’t always the norm. Customers believe they should always get what they want, and that’s true when it comes to customer service. 67% of customer churn is preventable if firms resolve issues the first time they occur. 

It’s important to deal with customer issues and complaints right away even when the customer is not pleasant. This will prevent future issues and allow you to improve.  Knowing how to deal with rude customers is a very important skill for your company as a whole to have.

This list is not, by any means, to bash your customers. It doesn’t mean you can write off the ones that are rude. We want you to be able to recognize that rudeness and then show the customer the kindness and competence of your company. This list is to give you the right mindset.

How to Deal With Rude Customers

It’s bound to happen. Customers will be rude, and how you deal with them is important to your reputation as a company. You can ignore them, but that will only add fuel to their fire. Instead, you want to tackle the problem head-on with as much grace as possible. Keep an open mind, and use the following tips to stay grounded.

1. Listen and Acknowledge

Listen to the complaining customer without interrupting. Acknowledge their problem and don’t downplay it. This will help you gain their trust back as you move forward into solving the issue.

Don’t just ask them to explain their problem, actually listen to what they have to say. And don’t make them repeat it multiple times. Listening can benefit your business by creating less paperwork, upward communication, and human relations. 

2. Focus on the Problem

Instead of focusing on the customer’s rudeness, you should focus on what the problem is and how you are going to solve it. Finding the root of the problem will help you to keep your focus. Productivity is important here. You want to fix the problem as soon as possible to avoid more scrutiny. 

If you get distracted, or move off track, the problem becomes something different entirely. The problem then becomes your incompetence or inability to help. The problem then becomes bad customer service.

Customers just want their problems solved quickly and efficiently. Focus on what they need and ignore the unpleasantries. Don’t ignore the customer, just ignore the rudeness. 

3. Be Genuine

Apologize even if it’s not your fault. Being genuine with your responses will help the customer calm down. Show them that you genuinely care about them and their experience with your company. 

You can sympathize without taking the blame. Apologize, but don’t blame yourself or the company. But don’t blame the customer either. You can apologize for their experience instead of ignoring that anything happened and move on. 

4. Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Putting yourself in the shoes of the customer can help you understand where they are coming from and therefore allow you to empathize with them. Because customer service needs are growing significantly, it can be easy to try to rush through customer inquiries especially when they are not pleasant. 

Relating to the customer will help take you out of the situation and allow you to respond better. Instead of trying to quickly run through the request, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and try to thoroughly answer their question with your new understanding. 

Speed is important for the customer but, in this case, it is more important to empathize. Once again, a cold, quick response will accentuate the users’ problems. If you understand where they are coming from and try not to be ambiguous, you will avoid the negativity bias. 

5. Be Confident

While you want to reassure the complaining customer, you also want to be confident in your responses about your company. If you don’t know the answer, it is okay to say you don’t know. But don’t try to give the customer false information or information that will bring them right back to you. 

Be clear and be confident in your responses, even when the customer doesn’t want to concede. If you are not confident, your customers will write you off as incompetent and your company’s reputation will suffer. Give them a solution, not another problem. 

Rude customers should fall under the tasks that need to be perfect. Don’t slack off because they are rude, but instead find ways to make the customer see that you know what you are talking about. 

6. Stay in Control

Keeping the conversation on track is important. No matter where the conversation goes, you have to stay in control of it. Focus on fixing the problem and don’t let the customer take control by ranting or getting off track. 

Have Alternative Forms of Support

You should implement support for customers to use before they get to you. There are many different types of customer service [link to article], and each has benefits for you and your customers. It is important for you to keep in mind what the customer wants and needs from customer service. Support systems should be available, accessible, and fast. 

Frustrated customers can be avoided almost completely with support in the form of a knowledge base. This option drastically reduces the amount of facetime you need to have with angry customers (in person, email, chat, etc). The library of information available allows customers to find whatever they need with little to no help. It is automated and completely self-service. 

Having an online customer service system in place drastically reduces the amount of rude customers. They are able to find their answers without getting angry with your support representatives, if only because they initially have no one to direct their anger at. Alternative forms of support give the customers options and a way to resolve issues quickly and amicably. 

The Aftermath of Rude Customers

First, you have to put it behind you. After the issue is resolved, look for a way to prevent it from happening again. And then move forward from there. 

Don’t write off the customer, but don’t dwell on it. Use it as an opportunity to find improvements. Find the initial friction point. Even if it is the customer’s fault, it may have been the business that enabled the customer to go down the wrong path.

At the end of the day, the customer is always right!


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