Your Customer Service Guide for 5 Difficult Personalities

It can be a jarring experience. You go about your day and usually only speak with kind folks who are patient and have an easy time explaining their issues. They leave, pleased with your service. And then it happens: Your business has made someone mad. No matter what you do, you can’t seem to diffuse the situation. This customer is going to let you have it.

Every business should take accountability for their part of the problem. It’s likely that your product or service has negatively affected this customer’s life in some way – you should always apologize for that. It is good to recognize that there are going to be some personalities that aren’t going to be easy to deal with.

Humans are complex – that’s what makes the world so interesting. Here are the 5 difficult personalities you might encounter and our go-to customer service tips on handling them with ease:

The Complainer

Complainers tend to see the negative in everything and, when an issue arises, have an even harder time seeing how there could ever be a resolution. You could also call them the catastrophists. And guess what? They don’t take blame for anything.

The solution: Try to remove yourself from the guilt buckshot they’re firing and listen to what they’re actually saying. Ask a lot of clarifying questions. Take detailed notes that you can repeat back to this customer and make sure you truly understand the issue before moving on.

The Overly Agreeable

They may seem like they are on the same page as you, but it’s possible they aren’t. Overly agreeable types have a tendency of not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings and will go out of their way to put stuff back onto their plate, regardless of whether it’s bad for them or not.

The solution: If someone is yessing you to death, use more probing questions to find out how the customer really feels. Let them know you’re happy to oblige their requests and want to keep them around. They really like compliments, too.

The Expert

There are going to be times that a customer will know more about your business or product than you do. How is that possible? Because they said so, that’s how. Experts are very competent and do their research; they know everything about your competition, too. Highly self-assured, they are ready to get into a battle of wits.

The solution: Just like the complainer, it’s essential to listen to what they are actually saying. They have a tendency to demean others – let it roll off your back. Show that you appreciate their ideas and present the options that are actually available to the customer.

The Pessimist

It can’t be done. I’ve already tried. Everything is just terrible. Pessimists are the Eeyores of the world. Their grim outlook makes it hard to create a bright side, especially if they don’t want to see one.

The solution: Start by using some optimistic statements to try and turn them around. Offering solutions too quickly gives them the opportunity to put down something else. Once you start to get this customer on the bright side, you can then start revealing solutions to their problems and how they will actually make things better.

The Staller

This person puts off making decisions in order to make someone else happy. They are hesitant to jump without approval.

The solution: Take the time to present solutions to this customer and ask questions about his or her concerns. Make sure they get all the facts they need should they want to present them to someone else. Pushing them into decision-making could only make them stall further.

No matter the persona, you’re obligated to give it your best shot to turn around their negative perspective of you. Consider it a challenge, be creative! Each unhappy customer is an opportunity. What are some original ways you’ve tried to flip a customer’s mindset upside down?

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