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Dealing with the Customers who Aren’t Right

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They say the customer is always right – but, of course, we know this isn’t true. Here’s how to deal with the most notorious instances of the opposite!


In the age where everything seems so instant, customers tend to get very impatient when things don’t happen, y’know, instantly. The best way to deal with impatience is to make sure they’re not giving any reason to actually become reasonably impatient.

The key word there is ‘reasonably’. If a customer is being unreasonably impatient – i.e. they’re complaining because something hasn’t been delivered despite the delivery date of the product or service in question still not being met yet – then you need to kindly point this fact out to them, or ensure that the estimated delivery dates are made a lot clearer. If they’re reasonably impatient, this generally means you haven’t actually delivered on time. In this case, you should probably offer them something small to make up for it.


There are angry customers – and then there are <really angry customers, the kind who swear and scream down the phone at you. When customers get verbally abusive, it can be very difficult for people to bite their tongue and not retaliate.

It’s best to highlight to them that it will be easier to resolve the problem if things are calm and respectful. But before that, it’s best to just let them blow off that steam, even if it’s a long and unbroken profane rant. Interrupting them will just makes things worse. If things continue to escalate, tell them that you’ll be forced to terminate the communication if the behavior continues. Otherwise, do remain firmly by your policies. Customers should not receive special treatment after having been abusive.


Particularly common in online businesses, the issue of non-payment is a particularly sensitive one. It often happens simply because the customer in question is having genuine trouble paying their debts to you.

You need to define early in your business plan how you plan to deal with people in these positions. It’s always best to exercise some empathy and compassion, especially if there aren’t too many non-payers and the hit isn’t too big. But eventually you will have to collect payment – as complex and unpleasant a business as you may see it to be, it’s got to be done if you want to ensure people pay your business what it’s owed going forward! Zebersky Payne LLP’s team of debt collection attorneys may be able to assist you in such scenarios.

Competitor promises

So a customer has contacted you and brought up the fact that a competitor is offering a better service – or, at least, a cheaper one. What do you do? You want to verify the claim, but you don’t want to suggest to the customer that you think they’re lying. Make sure they know that verification is part of your policy – but do aim to match your competitor’s offer.

If you’re unable to match the face value or precise service of your competitor’s offer, then you need to be able to convince the customer why your business’s offer is still the best. What exactly does your business provide that your competitor doesn’t? You need to consider why exactly the value of your competitor’s offer is lower – it may be that there’s something missing!

But if the customer is, in fact, lying, then calmly ask them to provide their own evidence of their claim. They probably won’t reply.

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