Dealing with rigid or unreasonable customers and their requests can be a nightmare. Even though it may be difficult to deal with customers at times, it’s important that you do it with class and a calm demeanor. Whether you are dealing with a challenging customer or looking for ways to politely deny an unreasonable request, here are six ways to address a situation while de-escalating potential problems.

1. Be Positive and Clear

2. Do Not Commit Straight Away

3. Actively Listen To Your Customers

4. Propose Alternate Solutions

5. Try To Resolve Their Issue

6. Follow-Up


Related: How Customer Service Is Actually Marketing

1. Be Positive and Clear

Be positive in your approach when you talk to a customer. However, refrain from overpromising - this may create unreasonable expectations from the customer, both now and in the future. As a customer service professional, it is your duty to be candid about what your brand offers and what it does not. However, you can always focus on highlighting the features you do offer if you cannot provide what the customer requests.

2. Do Not Commit Straight Away

As tempting as it is to tell your customer that you will do everything in your power to help them, do not commit then and there. While you should assure your customer that you will try your best to help, all they will hear is that you are committing to fulfill their request, which will also create unrealistic expectations.

Sometimes you cannot avoid confrontation when dealing with an unreasonable customer. Politely tell them that you will consider their request but cannot promise anything unless you have approval from the relevant authority. Be sure to say it in a natural, empathetic tone, rather than making it sound like a well-rehearsed reply. This will help to put the customer at ease, and help to build trust with them instead of frustration.

3. Actively Listen to Your Customers

When dealing with a demanding customer making unreasonable requests, take your time to actively listen to them. It is important for them to feel heard - this can prevent the situation from escalating. Empathy is essential. Let the customer air their grievance - chances are they will calm down and hear you out in return.

Giving them validating statements like, “you are right “or “I completely understand where you are coming from” will make them feel understood. This may not only help you calm the customer down, but also help you retain their business. Even denying a request, if done well and with proper care, can demonstrate why you are worth the customer’s continued loyalty.

4. Propose Alternate Solutions and Give them Choices

If you can’t fulfill the customer’s request, it may be possible to think of alternate solutions. If there is anything you can offer instead of fulfilling their unreasonable demand, let them know. Give them several options and let them choose. This will make them feel like they are in control, even when it is not exactly what they requested. Moreover, it can help to create a positive impact on your customer - if you go out of your way to help them and find something, they may be happier than they would have been with their original request. Just ensure the options you suggest are ones you’d be happy to provide.

5. Try Your Best to Resolve Their Issue

Before blurting out a denial of a customer request, win their trust. It does not matter whether you can offer them a solution or not, reassure them that you will try your best and follow the above steps to demonstrate that you’re on their side. If you believe there is anything you can do to help, such as offering an alternate solution, discounts, and/or getting your supervisor’s approval – you must do it. Demonstrate that you are going above and beyond, and the customer may greatly appreciate it.

6. Follow Up

It may be a relief when you finish dealing with a demanding customer, but don’t forget about their request entirely. Even when you have said “No” to an unreasonable request by a customer, you must follow up if you can find a way to resolve their situation. Doing so will make them feel valued and help you win their loyalty.

The Take-Away

As daunting as it may be to deny unreasonable requests, always learn to say a “Soft No” instead of a blunt denial, which can escalate quickly. Remember, the competition is fierce in today’s market, and your customers will not think twice before taking their business elsewhere. Therefore, make customer satisfaction your top priority and respond to each of them to leave a positive perception about your business. 

Customer service is part of your marketing strategy, and our marketing experts at Ironmark are always here to help. Contact us today to learn more about how to give your clients a “soft no!”

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Written by Matt Marzullo

For over 28 years, Matt Marzullo has been a noteworthy leader in the print industry. Marzullo’s sharp business acumen and technical savvy allowed him to take risks others in the industry could not, making Ironmark one of the most forward-thinking communications companies in the field. His willingness to change processes and leverage new technologies for automation allowed Ironmark to enter new markets. In 2019, Matt Marzullo was promoted to President of Ironmark and became a partner in the businessin 2020. Alongside CEO Jeff Ostenso, the two work seamlessly together as they move Ironmark into the next phase of its growth, acquisition plan, and national footprint. Today, Marzullo deploys his trail-blazing leadership to oversee Ironmark’s $40m portfolio of business and ensure the company remains at the forefront of the print and communications industry.

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