• Kim

Dealing with Difficult Customers


No one likes dealing with difficult customers whether it’s in person, on the phone or via email. It can be frustrating and downright awkward. Amazon Sellers shouldn’t shy away from these situations, as avoiding upset customers can end up costing them dearly. By having the right attitude and taking the right steps to diffuse these situations, you’re much less likely to end up with a bad reputation and can actually turn bad reviews into good reviews!

Usually customers are not upset with the seller specifically; it could be that they’ve received an item damaged by the shipper or an incorrectly picked item from the fulfillment center. But in these situations where the fault lies with someone else, Amazon Sellers still have a duty and opportunity to turn a negative experience into a positive one. Dealing with difficult customers doesn’t have to mean admitting their problem was your fault, whether it was or wasn’t, but it does give you the chance to showcase your stellar customer service.

Tip: Use Empathy when Dealing with Difficult Customers

It’s important to hear out the customer’s frustrations and understand why they’re upset. Then, figure out with the customer how it can be made right. Sometimes, just allowing the customer to vent is enough to diffuse their anger. If they feel like you actually care that they’re having a problem and want to fix it, they are much less likely to continue being difficult. Respond to the customer’s situation with empathy by saying things like, “Oh no, I’m sorry that’s happened. Let’s see how we can fix it.” or “I can see why that would be upsetting.”

When dealing with difficult customers, sometimes you’re going to have to admit the customer is right, even when they are wrong. This isn’t preferable of course, but in customer service it’s necessary to help diffuse upset customers by just agreeing with them. This can help difficult customers more open to negotiating a resolution and make them more pliable to your suggestions.

Customers that are upset may not have the best emotional control given that they’re experiencing a problem. Because of this, it’s vital that you stay in control of your own emotions and exude a calm demeanor to help keep the situation from escalating. Many times, once someone who is upset finds that venting their feelings and being responded to with empathy in a calm manner is exactly what they need to alleviate their frustrations. In the process, you also have the opportunity to regain their trust and loyalty as a customer.

Tip: Protect Yourself when Dealing with Difficult Customers

However, with all of that being important, you also have to go with your gut instinct sometimes to avoid being taken advantage of. But you also don’t want to risk losing good customers who are just having a bad experience because of your skepticism. You need to be prepared to take small losses in some cases when you need to give the customer the benefit of the doubt. You don’t want to upset customers further by accusing them of trying to scam you, so in some situations you’ll have to provide a free replacement product, credit, etc. to keep the customer happy. You do have the ability to prevent those who want to scam you from doing so more than once by tracking customers who you provide replacements to because of things like shipping damages, lost packages that were marked delivered, incorrectly fulfilled orders (i.e. items missing), etc.

For example, if a customer emails you saying their package was marked as delivered but they cannot find it, you can provide a replacement with a shipping label included in the new package, so the customer can return the duplicate item if it’s found. Of course, there is the likelihood the customer will never send you anything back, but it’s a small price to pay in order to turn the customer’s bad experience around. The customer is much more likely to order from you again in the future if you are able to resolve their issue easily.

If you fulfill orders yourself instead of using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and have high dollar orders, you should use reliable shipping carriers like FedEx or UPS and use signature confirmation and insurance. These things will cost extra, but it will be worth it if there is an issue that comes us. Dealing with difficult customers is a pain enough in and of itself, so make it easier on yourself by covering as many bases as possible. It’s certainly not ideal to have to take losses on orders in order to satisfy your customers, but it will be worth it in the long run if it helps you retain them.

If your gut tells you that someone seems fishy, do what you can to keep them happy and make diligent notes so if they continue to try and get you to give them free items, you can catch them in their scam. That’s not to say that you should be dealing with difficult customers as though they are just out to scam you, but you do need to protect your business too. Your best bet is to treat customers with respect and trust, since they are trusting you by ordering from you.

Dealing with difficult customers is definitely not fun, but it’s essential that you’re addressing issues your customers are experiencing. Amazon expects sellers to provide the best customer experience possible, so dealing with difficult customers and turning them into happy customers is an important part of selling on Amazon. Unhappy customers have the ability to have a huge impact on your success if you aren’t providing exceptional customer service. From negative reviews to lost sales opportunities, you owe it to yourself and all the hard work you put into your Amazon business to do whatever you can to keep your customers as happy as possible. Your customers will appreciate it and so will your bottom line!


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