Difficult Customers

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Difficult Customers

The customer leaned across the counter. “You mean I spend thousands of dollars in here, and I can't return a defective tool?” he said. “Well, the tool isn't really defective,” replied the counter salesperson. “So you're calling me a liar?”

The customer now had everyone's attention. His loud voice and aggressive manner caused some of the other customers to look at one another and roll their eyes as if to convey the silent message, Oh, one of those difficult people. It was my first week at the counter, and I was leaning toward the customer's point of view. My colleague continued the fight. “No, I'm not calling you a liar. This is simply normal wear of the tool. It's against the manufacturer's policy to refund for normal wear and tear.” I was now completely on the customer's side.

The customer didn't reply immediately, and a silence fell across the room. He straightened up, slowly scanned the other customers, and said in a clear voice said, “People only come here as a last resort.” He turned on the heels of his work boots and marched out of the store. As soon as the door closed, you could feel the air come back into the room. People chuckled rather nervously. Someone said, “Guess it takes all kinds.” “That guy's always a pain,” said my co-worker.

And that was the real issue. A different customer would have received a new tool, no questions asked, but because this particular customer wore the “difficult” label, it became his self-fulfilling prophecy to get bad customer service. Difficult customers

Some people aren't happy unless they're unhappy. These are the volatile handful known as “difficult customers.” Constantly looking for a flaw in your service, they'll take advantage of your policies by making requests that sometimes border on the absurd. More importantly, though, they will teach you how to deliver the customer service you promise. You can learn more from the difficult customer than you could ever learn from your most loyal...
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