We all get them, the one customer you would just as soon bothered some other business, but yet, you can’t seem to get rid of them for some reason. And….the holidays just seem to bring out the worst in some people more than usual.
Depending on their issue, the best way to deal with someone who is making your job miserable is to put it right back on them. We’re not saying to be mean to them or give them unsatisfactory customer service, but if they are complaining about something for no valid reason, find a way to put the monkey on their back instead of yours.
For instance, say you have a customer who is a chronic complainer. No matter what you do, they are never happy with it. The next time they complain about something without a valid reason, say to them, “perhaps you would be happier shopping somewhere else.” This puts the burden of continuing with your services even though they are clearly not happy on them, not you. If they insist on continuing to shop with you after you call them on it, they cannot keep complaining about your services really, because you pointed out to them that they have other options; they can choose to go elsewhere. By continuing to do business with you, they are admitting that it is not so bad as to go elsewhere.
Also, they are usually not expecting you to turn away their business, and since you don’t seem to want to put up with them any longer, they will usually back down. The key is to be ever so polite about making the statement that they might be happier shopping elsewhere, then watch the shocked look on their face when they suddenly realize you do not want to put up with them even for their money. This alone is usually enough to get them to knock it off. Every once in a while, you get those people who think they can abuse customer service people and get away with it simply because it is your job to. They are the ones who are the most shocked to learn that you don’t and won’t put up with their abuse even for their money.
If, on the other hand, they have a legitimate complaint, most business people and customer service people know how to handle it. You fix it to the best of your ability to try and make it right. If they don’t accept that, then they have to make the choice to continue with your business or not. However, you run into those people who deliberately complain and act angry about your services just so they can get free stuff from you. What do you do with them? Well, you give it to them once, put them on a “watch list” and make sure all your employees are aware that this customer makes a habit of this, and eventually you have to tell them to take a hike, or call them on it by saying something like, “We notice you seem to be quite unhappy with out service as you have made complaints 2-3 times now….” This shows the chronic-complainer-for-freebies that you are monitoring their habits and know they are trying to take advantage. This will usually get them to stop.