5 Types of Challenging Customers and How to Deal with Them

By Shun Bueno

Community managers are the frontline when it comes to dealing with customers. While most customers are pleasant and understanding, there are always a few who are difficult to deal with.

Nearly all community managers must handle difficult customers at some point on a daily basis. This can be a challenge, as each customer is unique in their concern and motivation, and the toll of engaging with them can easily get to you and ruin the rest of your day if not handled properly. 

It is important to try to handle these situations as best you can, as they can quickly become negative and destructive. Knowing how to deal with these customers can make a significant difference in your job as a community manager as well as your customers’ life.

Here are five common difficult customers you might encounter as a community manager and how to best deal with them:

The Complainer

One of the most common difficult customers that you’ll encounter in managing a community is the complainer. This kind of customer is someone who feels upset by unfulfilled expectations. The complainer makes the problem bigger than it actually is, making it harder to appease, and can be very vocal in their complaints in a not-so-constructive way.

Engaging with someone like this can be daunting but it’s important to remember that they’re just trying to get their needs met. The key is to acknowledge their complaint and know where they’re coming from.

The first step in dealing with this customer is to listen and try to understand their issue. It is important to be empathetic and show that you care about them. Once you have listened to the customer and gathered all the information, you can start to resolve the issue. Look at this as an opportunity to turn a negative situation into a positive one, and a complainer into a loyal customer. 

The Know-It-All

The know-it-all is sure to test your patience. This is someone who is often frustrating to deal with, as they can be condescending and seem to think they are always right.

This customer thinks they know everything about your product or service and are not afraid to let you know it. They are quick to point out any flaws or shortcomings and are always demanding more from you.

If you find yourself dealing with a know-it-all customer, it is important to remain calm and attentive and try to provide them with the information they need in the politest way possible.

The Aggressive One

The aggressive one is quick to anger and short-tempered, and they tend to voice it out in a profane manner. But not all is without reason. They are just angry about something and taking it out on you. We all have our bad days and perhaps this is one of theirs. 

You have to make sure to not fall for their taunting when the situation becomes heated and escalates the situation further. Our goal is to resolve the issue, not to win an argument.

When dealing with this customer, you have to remain calm and professional which is difficult to do when they’re being rude and disrespectful but it’s important to remember that the customer is not attacking you personally. Try to see the situation from the customer’s perspective. They may be upset because they’re not getting what they want, or they may be confused about something.

Find a way to resolve the customer’s issue. This might involve giving them a refund, exchanging a product, or simply apologizing for any inconvenience that they’ve experienced. Whatever you do, the goal is to try to leave the customer heard and satisfied.

The Entitled

Entitled customers are self-centered and think highly of themselves. They feel like they deserve special treatment and you must grant every request. They can be demanding, intrusive, and even cross the border to be The Aggressive type. While it is important to try to keep all customers happy, it is often difficult to do so with feeling entitled customers.

It is important to be able to handle this type of customer in a professional and respectful way. You need to remain calm when dealing with this customer. Losing your cool will only make the situation worse but when you stay calm, it shows that you are in control and that you are not going to let the customer bully you. It is also important to be firm with entitled customers. They will try to take advantage of you if you let them, so you need to set boundaries and stick to them.

The Troll

Trolls are someone who deliberately posts inflammatory, derogatory, or otherwise offensive comments. They are often anonymous and can be very difficult to deal with. They can disrupt conversations, spread negativity, and make it difficult for the other customers and community managers.

Ignoring trolls is often the best strategy, as they are looking for attention and will soon get bored if they don’t get the spotlight they want. If you engage with a troll, they will often just keep going and it can escalate the situation. Ignore them and delete their comment or post and make sure to do it in a way that doesn’t give them any satisfaction (i.e. don’t give them a public response or make a big deal out of it).

If you can’t ignore the troll, you can try to reason with them. This can be difficult, but sometimes it can be effective. If reasoning with the troll doesn’t work, you can always ban them from your community. This is the last resort, but sometimes it is necessary.

No matter what type of difficult customer you’re dealing with, remember that there is always a way to resolve the situation. By making yourself familiar with your customers and how to best engage with them, you’ll be able to manage your community more effectively. 

If you need help dealing with difficult customers or your community in general, contact us and our team of expert community managers will help you.