Dealing with difficult customers is an inevitable part of running a business. Handling these situations with grace and professionalism is crucial, whether it’s a mismatch of expectations, dissatisfaction with a product or service, or simply a clash of personalities. 

Here are some strategies to help you avoid and effectively deal with difficult customers:

Set Clear Boundaries and Expectations

The first step in preventing difficult customer interactions is to establish clear boundaries and expectations from the outset. When we onboard new clients, we ensure they have 48 hours to consider the commitment, which also gives us time to assess if they are a good fit. This reflection period helps both parties ensure alignment before any agreement is signed.

Short-Term Commitments

Another approach is to start with short-term engagements. We often initiate with a six or twelve-week program, which allows us to gauge compatibility and effectiveness before committing to a longer-term relationship. This also includes a clause allowing either party to cancel with 30 days’ notice, ensuring flexibility and reducing the risk of prolonged dissatisfaction.

Educate Your Audience

One of the best ways to avoid difficult customers is by educating your audience through free content. By providing videos, blogs, and other resources that showcase your style and approach, potential customers can self-select based on their preferences. If they resonate with your content, they are more likely to be a good fit. If not, they will likely move on before any issues arise.

Implement Clear Processes and Procedures

Having well-defined processes and procedures in place ensures that nothing is missed and expectations are met consistently. This can significantly reduce misunderstandings and mistakes that often lead to difficult customer interactions.

Handling Negative Reviews and Feedback

When a negative review or feedback does occur, active listening is key. Understand the customer’s perspective, empathise, and acknowledge their feelings without immediately admitting fault. This approach allows you to de-escalate the situation and find a constructive solution.

Responding to Complaints

For complaints, it’s important to review the situation carefully. If the issue stems from a misunderstanding or misuse, guide the customer through the correct usage or clarify expectations. If the complaint is valid, take steps to rectify the situation, whether that means replacing a faulty product or offering a service adjustment.

Dealing with Persistent Difficult Customers

If you find yourself dealing with a persistently difficult customer, refer back to your established boundaries and service level agreements. If necessary, put them on notice or suggest that they might be better served by another provider. Remember, not every customer will be a perfect fit, and it’s okay to part ways if the relationship isn’t working.

Final Takeaway

Ultimately, the goal is to prevent difficult customer situations through proactive measures. But when they do arise, handle them with care, listen actively, and maintain your professional boundaries. By doing so, you protect your business and ensure a healthier working environment for you and your team.


  • [00:00:20] Dealing with difficult customers
  • [00:00:37] Importance of setting clear boundaries and expectations
  • [00:00:47] Reflection period for both parties 
  • [00:01:11] Short-term commitments to gauge compatibility
  • [00:01:54] Educating your audience through free content
  • [00:02:33] Defined processes to avoid misunderstandings
  • [00:02:56] Steps to address and rectify complaints
  • [00:04:17] Referencing boundaries and service agreements.

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