With the good comes the bad, and in business this means dealing with difficult customers every now and again. Often, this is due to things you cannot avoid, such as a shipping issue that a third party has immediate control over or a vendor item defect that you had no idea existed. Other times this may be a direct response to something you or someone from your company did – including responses to your behavior, communication or lack of it. Either way, the tips below can help navigate the drama some difficult customers may deliver.

1. Let your customers communicate how they feel. First and foremost, giving your customers time and space to “vent” is often all they need to help move forward towards resolution or at the very least… results. After they have finished expressing their feelings, apologize for their unhappiness towards your business – even if you do not feel they have been let down in anyway. It’s simply showing you support them in their role as a customer. Having genuine care towards their feelings certainly helps, as well.

2. Listen to your customers and their viewpoint of the problem. Even if their viewpoint is not your viewpoint, try and deliver a response that shows you respect their opinion. If they are challenging your return policy, for example, state why it’s in place and why it must be enforced. In some situations, such as a response to a customer service scenario, you may even agree entirely with their perspective – in which case you should acknowledge your understanding of their view and offer a resolution to ease their frustration. When it comes to easing a vendor issue, you can explain your lack of immediate control but your willingness to help them navigate the problem. By offering an explanation and offering a willingness to help, customers are more likely to embrace your support instead of shunning your business.

3. Fix the problem at hand immediately. If you can provide an immediate response to the problem at hand, do it. This may mean breaking your own rules every now and again… but then again, isn’t that why you are the boss, manager or in an authority position? While this won’t – and shouldn’t be – the answer for all difficult customer situations, having the flexibility to quickly respond to difficult customers should be considered. For example – when a customer is creating a scene in front of other customers, you should aim to resolve it as fast and quietly as possible. Retailers in particular know how hard this can be, as having an audience within a store is never ideal when dealing with customers who are acting upset or rude. The main goal is to leave your disgruntled customer feeling satisfied that they have experienced valuedcustomer service. One of the main reasons for this is that any customer who becomes upset and loud about it in your business is likely the same type of person to talk about this experience with friends, family and other potential customers.

Read more: 3 Tips to Deal With Difficult Customers

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