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ASERT does not offer crisis services through our Resource Center. If you or someone you love is experiencing mental health distress or thoughts of suicide please call or text 988 for support.

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Dealing With Difficult Customers At Work

young woman working in a gift box storeWe’ve all heard the expression, “the customer is always right.” While this is not always true, there are going to be times at a job when you need to deal with difficult customers, even if you think they may be in the wrong. This page describes why learning how to deal with difficult customers is important and how you can deal with the stress that comes along with it.

What are some types of difficult customers at work?

Here are a list of difficult customer behaviors you may have to deal with at work:

  • Angry/aggressive
  • Impatient
  • Intimidating
  • Talkative
  • Demanding
  • Indecisive
  • Complaining
  • Know-it-all

What are the consequences of interacting well?

  • You will likely be viewed as professional and hardworking
  • Your supervisors will think highly of you, which may lead to positive consequences, such as getting a promotion

What are the consequences of interacting poorly?

  • You may be viewed as unprofessional or rude
  • You may seem like you are not putting in effort
  • Your supervisors may think badly of you, which may lead to getting a warning or being fired

How can you deal with the stress?

  • Take deep breaths when you begin to get frustrated or upset
  • Show that you are listening and that you care.
  • Use body language, such as standing or sitting up straight and don’t cross your arms.
  • Have good eye contact to show that you’re listening.
  • Keep your facial expression looking sincere and interested.
  • Let the customer vent and pay attention
  • Never argue with or blame customers.
  • Stay calm and speak in a neutral or positive tone of voice.
  • Attempt to solve the problem and get a manager or supervisor if you need help
  • Seek support from other coworkers as to how they deal with frustration at work
  • When the situation is over, let out your negative emotions in an appropriate place, such as the break room, restroom, at home, or outside where the public will not see you

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This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.