Difficult clients can be hard to handle. Here’s how you deal with them professionally.

You’re a customer-centric individual who values serving your clients. Sometimes, clients can be a little much to handle. We always have those difficult clients who take up more time and effort than you want with complaints and problems. It’s a part of the business world. At times, you may want to pull your hair out, but it doesn’t have to be that stressful! Here’s how to handle difficult clients professionally.


When handling a difficult client situation, you need to listen so that you can fully understand the issue and work to resolve the problem. Whether it’s over the phone or in person, write down what the customer is saying. This will make the customer feel that they are being taken seriously. Be sure to confirm points of the issue throughout the conversation as well so you’re both on the same page. You don’t want to have the customer repeat themselves later on if you discover you don’t have all the information or understand the problem. This will only raise tensions.

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Be Empathetic

Many times, issues brought to your attention are not your fault. Display empathy throughout the conversation. Tailor your facial expressions to show concern and understanding. You should also acknowledge their position rather than agreeing with it. If you agree, it may make them angrier. Handling difficult clients with empathy can lead to better customer experiences.

Positivity is Key

When handling an upset customer, negativity surrounds your environment. Don’t let it get you unhinged and cause you to stoop to their level. Instead, take the high road. Stay positive and reflect that positivity in your voice with a pleasant tone. Be pleasant and attentive; the customer will appreciate your efforts and feel confident that the issue will be resolved.


Being apologetic works… sometimes. Even if the issue is not your fault, apologizing can sometimes successfully calm a customer. Research has shown that customers seek accountability for mistakes. If the apology doesn’t cool the customer, remain calm and assure them that you will do what you can to solve the problem. Ultimately your actions to resolve the issue is all that matters. Commitment to resolve the issue will make your customer feel important and should help put the situation at ease while you work.

Set Expectations

First off, don’t make promises you can’t keep. If a customer says, for example, “I want double my money back now for the hassle your company has put me through!” Don’t give in right away. Instead, work to understand the issue, develop a plan of action, and set a realistic expectation. Say something like, “Sir, I now understand your frustration and after hearing your perspective, I’m going to make my manager aware of everything you’ve told me and resolve this issue.”

Establish Credibility

“I want to speak to your manager!” Sometimes a difficult client will demand to speak to a superior even if you are the superior. Whether you’re a customer service representative, sales professional, or manager, you’re more than qualified to handle the issue. Establish your credibility and make it known that you are qualified to handle the issue. Encourage the customer to explain to you the issue so that you can help. Be sure to listen carefully and confirm what the customer is saying! If this doesn’t work, and they still demand to speak to a manager, remain calm and go find your manager. This will make the customer feel like they’re being taken seriously.

Stress Management

It can be hard not to take difficult client demands personally or lash back when you know the customer is wrong. In the age of social media, it’s easy for a customer to write a post that shines a negative light on your company. Don’t let this happen! Learning how to cope with stress and manage anger can be a huge advantage so you don’t let one bad experience run you down. There are a lot of great tips out there for stress management such as exercise and remaining positive. Find what works for you and stick with it!

Educate Yourself and Apply Your Knowledge!

Handling difficult clients is a skill everyone in business needs to know because at one time or another it will happen. Try to learn as much as you can so you’re completely educated and prepared. To start, here are some great books you can read to learn more about dealing with tough clients: 

Dealing with Difficult Customers: How to Turn Demanding, Dissatisfied, and Disagreeable Clients Into Your Best Customers by Noah Fleming and Shawn Veltman.

The title of this books speaks for itself. The authors give many relatable examples of dealing with difficult clients and how to transform them into great customers for your business.

The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences by Matt Watkinson.

This book combines theory with real-life examples that teach the reader 10 principles. Apply them to your business if you want to move your clients to the center of great customer experience.

The Power of a Positive No by William Ury.

Saying ‘no’ to a customer is hard and can be intimidating. This book puts a positive spin on saying ‘no and how you can start doing so today in your business.

You Can’t Please Everyone

Some people, no matter how hard you try, cannot be reasoned with. Know when to end the relationship. It’s ok to take a loss once in a while if you have done everything possible to resolve the issue for the customer. Some difficult clients are not worth the hassle and time of your staff. Let your competitors handle the irrational client. Be professional and know that you have plenty of other great customers who appreciate your service.

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Do you have any suggestions for handling difficult customers that we’ve not mentioned in this post? Drop us a comment with your tips! Now, of course, you need sales before you have customers. Blitz Sales Software can help you close more deals so that your business can continue to scale. Click here to schedule a free demo of Blitz and see how you can take your business to the next level!