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5 Types of Complaining Customers (and How to Handle Them)

By | 05.08.14

5 Types of Complaining Customers (and How to Handle Them)

Customer complaints are simply a fact of life when it comes to business. Whether the blame lies with you or on circumstances beyond your control, you still need to address unhappy customers and do what you can to make things right. If you handle the complaint well, you can turn a disgruntled customer into a fan. Handle it poorly, and that sole voice of dissent can wreak havoc on your online reputation.

Complaining customers can be divided into five categories. Learn to recognize them and you can effectively… they outline these archetypes and then offer suggestions for dealing with these types of customer complaints effectively.

The Meek Customer

Meek Customers tend to avoid confrontation and won’t make their complaints known at the time. Requesting customer feedback provides these guests the opportunity to share their opinions on your products and service. You may never know this customer was dissatisfied if you don’t actively request feedback. Once you reach out to these customers, you’ll need to do whatever is necessary to address their concerns.

The Aggressive Customer

Unlike the Meek Customer, the aggressive customer complains loudly to anyone willing to listen. You’ll want to provide grade-A customer service but cut to the chase. Aggressive customers can do without pacification and don’t care to hear any excuses. Listen to their complaints, acknowledge the problem, and tell them exactly how and when you plan to resolve the issue. Be sure to watch your tone. Aggressive customers don’t respond well to those who are aggressive in return.

The High-Roller Customer

High-roller customers expect the absolute best and are quite willing to pay for it. While some are reasonable when voicing their complaints, others may behave more like aggressive customers.

High-roller customers are all about resolution. Skip the excuses and give them what they want— the gameplan to how you’ll recover from the breakdown in customer service. The best approach is to actively listen and ask questions to get to the root of the problem.

The Rip-Off Customer

Rip-Off Customers aren’t actually looking to resolve the issue. Instead, they’re more interested in getting something they’re not entitled to receive. If your attempts to soothe a customer are met with an incessant response of “not good enough,” then odds are, you’re dealing with a rip-off customer.

Your best bet is to stay objective and keep your own personal feelings in check. Make sure to back up your position with quantifiable data and document everything. If the customer does respond with “Not good enough,” consider asking what he or she would like you to do to rectify the situation. Just make sure that your response is in alignment with your established policy for customer complaints.

The Chronic Complainer Customer

Do you have customers who are never satisfied? There’s always seems to be something wrong. Meet your chronic complainers. As frustrating as this can be, remember that they’re your customers. You can’t simply dismiss their complaints, and responding can take extraordinary patience. A listening ear, sincere apology, and an honest effort to correct the situation can go a long way with these customers.

Unlike Rip-Off Customers, Chronic Complainer Customers can be reasonable and will appreciate your attempts to redress the situation. In fact, despite their constant grieving, they tend to be good customers and will happily tell others about your positive response to their complaints.

Obviously, not all complaining customers will fit neatly into these categories. There’s bound to be some overlap. Luckily, once you become familiar with these complaint patterns and learn to respond appropriately, you’ll find it easier to deal with whatever customer complaints come your way.

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