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Stay professional with rude clients

Question :

I have been taking care of this crazy client who is rude and verbally abusive. When she doesn’t get her own way, she shouts and screams until things are changed. I can’t do anything but continue to serve her, as our company can’t afford to lose this multi-million-dollar account. I have spoken to management to try and switch, but all the other accounts are taken.  I don’t think I can take it anymore. Any tips on dealing with such an unreasonable person or should I just look elsewhere?

Posted by CS Rep on Saturday, 30 Aug 2014

Comments :

I feel your frustration on dealing with such an unreasonable person. But before you throw in the towel, let’s examine this situation and see if we can come up with some alternative actions that may create a win-win situation.

You did the right thing by discussing the issue with your manager. It is not clear to me if you had explained to your boss that her behaviour was not acceptable to you or to anyone else. However, passing on the account to others in the company will not solve the problem

As a customer service professional, there are some key competencies one must master. The most important is to maintain your professionalism by not taking things personally – I’m sure she is rude to everybody else. 

The other key skill is listening. When she is rude and abusive, she is losing her self-control. She thinks she can get what she wants by being aggressive.

You must listen and respond to her in a professional manner, such as by asking clarifying questions and offering her alternative solutions.

It is a good idea to first set down in writing the tasks provided and results expected. If she demands tasks that are not part of the statement of work, you can then refer to the document. However, this should be handled with care and sensitivity.

You could also record your conversations with the customer, which you can later share with your boss. He should be able to give you advice on dealing with the customer. 

Remember, there will always be unreasonable customers and not all customers are right.

It is not unusual for companies to drop clients if they consistently abuse their staff, particular those customers that are not congruent with the organisation’s core values. However, an organisation exists because of its customers; they bring revenue and profits. We should try everything we can to provide quality service. 

Have another go and best of luck.

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