Dealing With Rude Customers While Maintaining Company Image

Bad business is not uncommon. One customer has a bad experience with your business and word-of-mouth talks lead to ruining the reputation. Sometimes it could be because the salesperson in your shop behaved badly, or other times when the salesman couldn’t deal with a rude customer.

Not every employee in your business would know the smooth handling of a situation. Though most times small incidents are forgotten within the next day, with social media platforms and bloggers as your customers, the publicity of a bad reputation is more common in recent years.

  • Sales are important, so is maintaining peace

No matter what the situation, who the customer is, sales are the highest priority for any business. It is not just about gaining profits, but also paying the employees. The best option looks like settling with the customer. However, if that continues your business would be at a loss.

No matter how much emotion the customer shows, it is your duty to be empathetic, yet straight to the point. You don’t want to seem to represent yourself as someone who only looks for profits. Be calm and if there is any way you can find a deal benefiting both parties, then go ahead.

If not, no matter how much financially rich the customer is, be ready to show the door out. Being honest shows the integrity maintained within the walls of your business. If not now, later customers will come to realize the authenticity of holding on to your true self.

  • When peace is not possible

What if your customers are young kids who hang around in the area. They might cause a scene and ask for freebies. While giving freebies for promotion on their brand is a negotiable deal, there is a difference between a professional agreement and someone coming and demanding.

Often, such uncontrollable situations are unavoidable but can be kept under control with little effort. Such kind needs your attention and some kindness. It would be hard talking to strangers in a normal manner when they are degrading you or your company. However, make sure to train your employees, let them know that such customers are temporary. Withholding for some time can benefit on a larger scale.

  • Focus on the customer needs

It is rare for a customer to come and fight for no reason. There is always another perspective you might often miss. Focus on what the customer is saying filtering out the emotion in their words.

The answer very simple in such cases, either you have the product or service, or you don’t. Communication can be gibberish from the buyer’s side. But, it is our responsibility to listen properly despite the gibberish.

  • What if your mistake is involved?

Some of the common mistakes which can lead to customers being rude,

    • Product/service default
    • Bad customer service
    • Faulty communication from the salesperson
    • Bad timing

While you can compensate for all of the above with another replacement or additional goodie for wasting customer’s time. The reputation is already ruined and the first impression is gone.

Explain yourself– Give a short explanation of why it happened. Anyone would realize that salesmen are human too, they make mistakes too. Again, don’t take extra time and expect forgiveness or a reply. Your role ends with an explanation and an apology.

  • Avoid getting blamed or blaming others

Dealing with uncommon customers can be tough, time-consuming, and gets on your nerves. Blaming is the first most thought any anyone involved in such conversations. Avoiding the blame solves half of the problem.

Before knowing what the problems are, nobody can be ready to admit to a fault. If you admit, then it would only mean you are aware of a fault in your business, and yet you haven’t corrected it. The employee involved with customer service can often be intimidated by the customer’s tone and take the blame. It is highly not suggestible to do so.

  • The textbook trick doesn’t work always

Business schools, professional websites all would suggest you go through the key points like acknowledge, apologize, fix the problem and ask for a follow-up. However, in practical situations every customer is unique.

The best way to adapt would be to become flexible. Maybe the customer doesn’t care about your apology they just want the work done quickly. Manners are important, so maybe try to apologize after fixing the problem.

Buyers or consumers can be rude.  But if we show signs of only using a standard method, nobody would be interested in being nice or considerate. Often, while training employees organizations forget that a standard method doesn’t work for every employee too. Give your employees enough freedom to be flexible. With time and effort, they will pick up few tricks on their own.

  • Damage control after your reputation is ruined

Controlling the damage before things go out of hand is possible. After the damage is where all the trouble starts. Three basic rules of any damage control,

    • Accept your mistake if any, else explain what happened
    • Get feedback, what could be the plausible reason behind low sales
    • Find opportunities to make it better, do a little extra

Certainly, a little research wouldn’t help. It takes a lot of time to get to know what would be ideal for your business. Sometimes damage control could be changing your product/ service, other times show your concern on a social cause, either environmental cause or societal.

Make sure that your efforts are seen. Every business should be able to brag around about the best qualities they have. Give people reasons on why they should prefer to buy you, make sure to put things out in a clear crisp way.

  • Stick to one method

Being dynamic and flexible in dealing with rude customers helps. But, in damage control, your target audience is multiple people. While representing the company give one straightforward implication. While providing service or product, be flexible. The slight variation on both being dynamic and holding on to common goals play a crucial role. Every employee working in the place should believe that you are making true progress, only then results are produced.


“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

-Warren Buffett





  • Meghana Kandra

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