How to contend with each personality type

By Raechel Duplain, Podium

The following article originally appeared on Podium’s blog page and is reposted here with permission.

Not all challenging customers are the same, and you will need to develop a strategy that works for each one. This way, you can maximize customer satisfaction and, therefore, encourage customer loyalty. 

  1. The Indecisive or Confused Customer

These customers seem to take forever to make a decision and then second guess their choice. An indecisive customer asks question upon question and won’t come to a decision easily. They want to be certain about what they purchase and are afraid of making a mistake. Though they are polite, they can be very draining and may take up a lot of your already packed schedule.

To better handle these customers, try to figure out what is most important to them. Ask questions that are specific to what they are looking for to help identify their needs. Is price, quality, or a specific feature most important to them? Once you know what drives their decision making, it is easier to showcase these attributes in your service or product. 

Another way to help your confused customer is to offer an incentive. Consider sending a personalized discount code via text to sweeten the deal and help them make the jump. You can also give specific examples of how others liked and used the product and/or service. 

2. The Angry or Demanding Customer

The angry customer arrives critical, arrogant and aggressive, and may even veer toward verbally abusive. These customers come in with the attitude that the customer is always right, and they may yell at you until they get their way. 

When it comes to these customers, it won’t matter if you’re wrong or right. Simply apologize and offer a solution once they calm down. Don’t shout back at them or try to match their aggression. Kindness is always the best option, especially where customers are concerned. And remember, a converted bully can become your most loyal customer. 

3. The Impatient Customer

This customer is inconvenienced by everything. They simply can’t understand that it can’t be done or that something isn’t available. They are shocked you don’t offer a particular service or feature, or that you are closed on Sundays. They often use threatening phrases like “I’ll take my business elsewhere!”

While it can be tempting to give in to their complaints and find a way to bump them up, that makes for poor business. Do your best to explain why things are this way and that you will serve him or her as best you can. If needed, refer them to a colleague who can help deliver better customer support. 

4. The Complaining Customer

Complaining customers always find something to grumble about. They will complain about any minor change or inconvenience. You may feel like you deal with them way too often. 

Start by accepting that these customers aren’t going to be happy no matter what you do. Help them as best as you can, and then pass them on to another team member so you can get on with your day.

See: How to Contend With Cranky Customers

Remember, every customer is different. Categorizing customers by personality type can be helpful, but don’t be afraid to follow your gut and take the approach that feels right in the moment. Different situations require different solutions, and that’s OK. The most important thing is to remain calm and aim for a happy compromise.

Just know that you can’t operate a business without dealing with the occasional unhappy client. How you handle them will always tell you more about you and your business skills than the actual customer.

Manage all your communication — from reviews and website conversations to text marketing, payments and more — with Podium. Click here to start a free trial.

Raechel Duplain is Group Manager, Solutions Marketing at BrandSource partner Podium, the premiere marketing and communications platform for local businesses.

Upcoming Events