We will consider in this article how to deal with rude customers.
Running a business doesn’t come without its own challenges and difficulties.
One of such challenges is dissatisfied and sometimes rude customers.
Knowing this is very important because there is a likelihood that you will come across such customers sometimes while doing business.
There are various reasons why customers tend to be rude, and you must take those reasons seriously.
Also, the way you deal with rude customers can make the difference between losing such customers or maintaining them.
Needless to say, having rude customers doesn’t necessarily have to mean the end of your business transaction with them.
Equipped with the right methods of dealing with such ones, you can properly manage them and still keep their patronage all the same.
How to Deal with Rude Customers – Who is a Rude Customer?
Speaking rudely can be defined as making expressions that are offensive, impolite, and bad-mannered.
Simply put, it is the direct opposite of politeness, and sometimes such expressions also come with an angry tone.
A rude customer expresses their concerns, complaints, and/or dissatisfaction with your product or services in an uncontrollable manner.
It is worth noting that having unhappy customers does not really translate to rude customers.
Sometimes, customers might be unhappy with a business because they probably did not get the value of the things they paid for or expected.
However, when lodging their complaints, some of these customers are civil enough to listen to your explanations and take solace.
On the other hand, a rude customer is not ready to dialogue with you but wants to express himself/herself.
Communication is not the key or end goal for rude customers.
This is because they usually express their opinions in insulting languages and tones.
Hence, it is quite difficult to deal with rude customers, and if care is not taken, it can affect your firm’s reputation.
How To Deal With Rude Customers – Why are Customers Usually Rude?
Well, it is said that for every action, there is always an equal and opposite reaction.
Permit us to flip the sentence at this point and say, for every reaction, there is a triggering action.
While not trying to make excuses for rudeness, but there are certain reasons why customers are particularly very rude.
Of course, there cannot be smoke without fire.
Therefore, it is essential that we carefully consider what could be responsible for some customers being rude.
Only when we do this can we rightly provide the best methods for dealing with rude customers.
Here are some causes of rudeness on the part of customers, or why customers are rude:
Perceived Lack of Value
Truth be told, anyone who pays for a product or service expects to get full value for the money spent.
Sometimes, when a customer makes a purchase and does not feel that he/she is getting the full value for money spent, they get dissatisfied.
Of course, as mentioned at the onset, dissatisfaction is not an excuse for rudeness.
However, depending on how important the product or service is to the customer, they might resort to rude remarks.
Trust us on this; if you use your ‘last dime’ to make a purchase and end up not getting what you paid for, it’s usually difficult to keep cool.
Poor Customer Service
This is responsible for a larger percentage of dissatisfied and rude customers.
We know as a business owner you want to protect your employees, especially when they have been serving you loyally for years.
Therefore, it is hard to imagine that they sometimes can be held responsible for the rude reactions from your customers.
But the truth is that it is sometimes the case with some rude customers.
Customers will always have complaints, regardless of how much you try to satisfy them.
And whenever they have complaints, they will come to your customer care representatives and vent.
It is the duty of your customer service agents to politely and carefully handle such complaints without aggravating the situation.
Don’t be surprised; an initially calm customer might turn rude once the customer service he/she receives is unprofessional and incompetent.
Unfulfilled Expectations Promises
Among other things, customers take promises made to them by your business very seriously.
When converting them from prospects to lead and then to customers, you made so many promises directly or indirectly.
These promises are part of the reasons they decided to do business with you, among many other options.
Therefore, when they start doing business with you and find out that their promises are not fulfilled, it can really get them frustrated and angry.
This is one other reason why you’ll have to experience and deal with rude customers in your business.
Customers Having a Bad Day
Sometimes, you get rude remarks and complaints from customers on seemingly little issues or even ‘no issue’ according to your understanding.
At such times, you begin to wonder what exactly you and your business have done wrong to warrant such disrespect.
Well, if it comes as any consolation, experience has shown that rudeness from customers is not always a result of failure on your part.
Sometimes, your customers are just having a bad day, and they can translate that frustration to you and your business.
Imagine someone who has had to wait in traffic for several hours during the day.
Or someone who has an emergency to attend to and running out of time to get it done.
It could even be a result of financial difficulties that some customers are going through.
You might find those customers getting angry about seemingly little things and even become rude in their approach in such situations.
Failure to Listen
Another factor responsible for rudeness from customers is a failure on the part of you and your employees to listen to customers.
When we talk about listening to customers, it is more than just hearing what they have to say and then respond.
You must take care to listen to understand and emphasize with your customers, and not just to listen to respond.
When a customer feels his/her complaints are not given the attention they deserve, he/she gets easily frustrated and angry.
Therefore, to reduce the likelihood of getting rude remarks from a customer, you must train your staff to cultivate the habit of listening actively.
It also helps to repeat the complaints or inquiries of the customers so they can feel assured that you heard them clearly and are willing to solve the problem.
Bullying to Have their Way
Strange as it sounds, but some customers actually resort to rudeness in a bid to bully or harass customer care representatives to make decisions go their way.
Sometimes, such customers are those who have either gone against some rules and policies of the company.
Or it could be that they have damaged a product and want to get a refund.
In such cases, they go the way of rude remarks to try and intimidate the employee they are discussing to decide that goes their way.
Of course, having well-trained customer service agents will help, so they do not fall for such antics.
It’s sad to say, but unfortunately, some customers are just rude simply because they want to be rude.
You know these when you try to figure out what the problem is and you find none, or despite your best efforts to help, it doesn’t work.
Such customers exhibit such traits even in their day-to-day activities or relationship with family and friends.
Dealing with such people can be quite difficult sometimes, but there are trusted ways to handle them.
Negative Impact of Rude Customers on a Business
As a business person, if you give rude customers a free ride with your business and do not address it, it can negatively affect your business.
Here are some of the negative impacts or effects that a rude customer can have on your business:
A Damaged Brand Reputation
You would agree that your brand reputation is one of the biggest assets of your business.
Hence, you must go to great lengths to build this reputation, manage and maintain it.
However, having rude customers can cause a dent in the reputation of your brand and even damage it.
This is because angry and rude customers can soil the company’s name.
They can use negative comments or remarks on social media or other media outlets to tarnish your brand image.
Loss of Business and Customers
Usually, a dissatisfied and rude customer would go on a tirade of discrediting your firm’s reputation.
It is more damaging if these have a strong online presence to drop bad reviews about your business easily.
If not properly managed and checked on time, this can lead to losing customers and business for you.
This is because even formerly loyal customers can believe the stories circulating about your brand and stop doing business with you.
Fewer Sales and Low Profit
It is only natural that when customers reduce, patronage reduces, and so does sales and profit.
Hence, having rude customers patronizing you can lead to a spread of negativity around your customer base.
Such negativity will eventually lead to loss of customers and invariably result in reduced sales and low income.
Reduced Employee Efficiency and Productivity
Nobody wants to be disrespected, shouted at all the time, or not appreciated.
Employees, especially the customer care agents who are the frontline of rude customers’ remarks, are also humans.
Because of this, having to deal with rude customers daily can negatively affect their mental health.
Thereby leading to less productivity and sometimes employee turnover.
Increased Costs on the Business
When you lose customers, the next logical thing you want to work on quickly is getting new customers.
Experienced businessmen and women will tell you that it costs less to maintain an existing customer than to get a new one.
If you do not deal appropriately with rude customers, they will most likely leave and take others with them.
This will then increase the cost of getting new customers for your business, which you could use for other things.
Importance of Dealing with Rude Customers Appropriately
As mentioned earlier, coming across rude customers in your line of business seems like an unavoidable scenario.
Therefore, it is important to deal with them appropriately and prepare for that eventuality.
Failure to deal with rude customers the right way can spell problems for your business.
However, when you devise the right procedures for dealing with such customers, your business can strongly come out of that phase.
In fact, there are many reasons why you must deal appropriately with rude customers.
Here are some of them:
The goal of every business is not just to make new customers but to retain them.
Given that, you must treat every customer that walks into your business as the king that they are.
This is essential whether they have been with you for just a short while or for a long period of time.
When you have rude customers, bad as it seems, it is an opportunity for you to either lose one customer or retain one.
There is a thin line between losing a customer and retaining them, especially when they are angry.
Taking conscious and concerted efforts to deal appropriately with such rude customers will go a long way towards retaining them.
Increase in Sales and Profit
It is a direct logic that more loyal customers translate to more sales.
In turn, more sales mean more profit for your business.
If you lose a customer every time, one customer is rude to you; you will have no customer left one day.
There is no telling what impact that will have on your sales and account book.
Therefore, it is imperative that you handle it quickly and effectively when faced with an angry and rude customer.
Do this, and you can only look on with satisfaction as your business grows and you make more profit.
Protects Brand Reputation
Before a customer resorts to being rude, it is safe to assume that it is already frustrating and unhappy.
With frustrations come desperation and dangerous decisions.
If you do not deal with a rude customer in the right manner, you run the risk of having such a customer smear the name of your brand.
A rude customer can go as far as denting your company’s reputation without caring about what might result from that.
Therefore, we cannot stress it enough that dealing effectively with a rude customer will go a long way in protecting your brand reputation.
Do not be misled; a rude person knows that he is rude.
In fact, when customers are rude, as we learned earlier, it could be a deliberate effort to frustrate you or intimidate you.
When you handle such rudeness professionally and still get things done for the customers without aggravating the situation, they will also notice this.
More often than not, after calming down a rude customer and providing solutions to their problem, they end up respecting you more.
Sometimes, they feel embarrassed by their actions.
Also, even if they do not admit their mistakes and apologize for the rude remarks simply because of a bruised ego, they will spread the good word about your business.
People generally want to be treated right even if they do not treat others right, and your customers are not an exception.
When you deal with a rude customer properly, they will surely refer you to their friends, acquaintances, and family members.
Of course, that will increase the growth of your business and enterprise.
Without mincing words, nobody wants to listen to rants and insults daily, especially not in the line of work.
When you have many unsatisfied and rude customers, and these repeatedly rag your employees, it can affect the mood in the office space.
With each passing day, your employees would not be happy with their jobs, especially your customer care representatives.
It is worth remembering that these also have their personal problems and anxieties.
Therefore, when they have to deal with rude customers again at work, it can rob them of their joy.
It is imperative that you deal quickly and effectively with rude customers to preserve your employees’ joy.
The previous point stressed just how dealing with rude customers effectively can help keep your employees happy.
You would likely agree that it affects what they can do for your firm and limits productivity when employees are not happy.
Hence, it is essential to treat a rude customer as soon as it arises.
How to Deal with Rude Customers
We’ve considered who a rude customer is, what can potentially cause rudeness and why it is important to deal with them appropriately.
Now we are at the business end of things.
How exactly do you deal with rude customers?
In other words, what practical steps can you take to check customer rudeness?
We will now look at some of the best ways to go about this:
1Try As Much As Possible To Prevent Customer Complaints
We know we are talking about what reaction to give to a rude customer, but then the saying goes that prevention is better than cure.
Therefore, isn’t it more effective to prevent a customer from getting upset and rude in the first place than finding a solution after?
While you might not possibly have full control over your customers’ emotions and reactions, you can still do your best.
So, sit with your team and carefully analyze potential causes of complaints from your customers.
You can also review past complaints from them to see if there is a trend somewhere.
By so doing, you can block out the issue before it degenerates into a cause for complaint and ensuing rudeness from the customer.
2Endeavor To Learn What The Problem Is
When dealing with a rude customer, it is essential not to presume or guess the real issue.
The best thing to do is determine the underlying issue and why the customer is reacting that way.
Making assumptions on what you think is making the customer angry might serve to provoke them the more.
To fully understand why your customers are rude, it might be best to ask them questions when they are inclined to answer.
Eventually, when you get to the bottom of the issue, you can explain why it happened, offer sincere apologies and offer assistance.
Sometimes, even with your best efforts, you still can’t prevent certain customers from being rude and arrogant.
In such situations, the best bet is to remain calm even when the customers rain insults and threaten you.
It is obviously not easy to maintain calmness, especially when unfairly insulted or disrespected.
The natural human inclination is to want to make your own point and fight back provocation.
However, you must hold yourself back from exchanging words with a rude customer.
This would only make the issue worse off.
Usually, it is best not to even reply to an angry and rude customer at that point but instead listen attentively as they rant.
Only then can you decide on the best response to give, if necessary, and the best way to handle the issue.
Empathy involves putting yourself in the shoes of the other person, so to speak.
This is essential when dealing with rude customers.
Many times, if you make conscious efforts to look at issues from the customer’s perspective, you will come to understand them better.
Issues that you tend to view as trivial or not important before might now become clearer to you.
When you are empathetic, instead of reacting harshly or rudely to a rude customer, you will be warm and kind.
This might help in solving the issue faster.
5Apologize But Make It Heartfelt And Genuine
Sooner or later, you will have to offer an apology to an unsatisfied, angry, or rude customer.
To be candid, offering a genuine apology to a rude customer can be difficult.
This is especially so if you feel they do not deserve such an apology or you’ve not done anything to warrant such rudeness.
However, you as a business person will need to consider the customer’s feelings and not who is right or wrong for peace to reign.
Note that when offering apologies, you apologize for the experience they had, which they do not enjoy or appreciate.
It could be tricky if you say sorry without stressing what you are sorry for.
Not offering apologies the right way might be an admission that you caused the problem and do more harm than good.
Nevertheless, a heartfelt and genuine apology will always soothe a customer’s mind and might help them calm down.
6Don’t Feel Attacked, Detach Emotions From The Business
When dealing with a rude customer, and you begin to compare the person’s age, marital status, or economic background with yours, there might be no resolution in view.
It is always important not to take the negative remarks and insults from a rude customer personally.
Instead of thinking they are attacking you or your personality, see it as attacking the business.
Also, remember that many external factors could be responsible for this, and not necessarily your fault.
That way, you can detach personal emotions from the business and be better placed to assist.
7Use The Right Choice Of Words And Tone
A rude customer is already in the habit of using the wrong choice of words with you.
The last thing you want to do is fall on the same pedestal with him/her and let it degenerate into an exchange of unsavory words.
It is essential to train your customer service team on using the right choice of words and tone of voice when relating with such ones.
You should endeavor to be calm and soothing in your responses and avoid raising your voice with the customer.
Usually, it is better to let them finish speaking and even politely ask to speak before you respond.
8Be Firm and Don’t Get Intimidated
After trying all the aforementioned points, there are times when a rude customer is just not understanding or stating wrong things about your firm.
These wrong facts can damage your reputation and jeopardize your business.
Sometimes, these rude customers might be asking you to break or bend the rules.
In that case, it is important to be firm and stand your ground.
While not being rude yourself, there are times when you will need to tell a customer that they are wrong politely.
This is especially important when your line of duty involves saving lives or protecting people.
There is a time a rude customer crosses the line, and you would have to frankly and respectfully put them right.
Apologies are sweet, and explanations are soothing, but these will not solve the underlying problems.
It is important that you go the extra mile to provide the necessary solution to the underlying reason why the customer is rude.
When you solve the problem, you not only stop the rudeness at that point, but you also prevent a recurrence.
Endeavor to give quick and simple solutions that are within the guidelines and policies of your organization.
10Know When To Let Go
Sadly, a rude customer might become unrelenting and unwilling to change.
It is essential that you discern when a customer is not just rude but getting dangerous.
This might happen when they start destroying things or threatening you and your staff.
In such cases, you need to decide to let such customers go.
Weigh the pros and cons of holding on to such a customer, and let them leave when it seems right.
This is because they might end up posing more problems to your company in the long run.
Wrapping Up On How to Deal with Rude Customers
Whatever your line of business is, you will most likely meet with angry and rude customers at one point or the other.
While this is unavoidable, you can take measures to ensure this doesn’t spell the end of your relationship with them.
Applying the steps enumerated above can help you turn the rather unfortunate situation into an advantageous one.
As such, you can come out of it stronger for you and your business by effectively dealing with rude customers.