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Mastering Customer Relations: How to Handle Difficult Customers?

Sharissa Barnett Oct 9, 2023 11:25:52 AM
an accounting handling figuring out how to handle difficult customers.

How to Effectively Handle Difficult Accounting Customers?

We’ve always come across the phrase, “customer is always right.” What this phrase tells you is that customer satisfaction in your accounting business is always paramount. 

There’s no denying that accounting for customers can be extremely difficult. Some can be unreasonable, disrespectful, rude, and upset. If you’re in the accounting business, you’ve probably met a few of these customers. You can’t help but ask how to handle difficult customers without losing them.

So, are you wondering how to deal with difficult customers in accounting? Well, before we answer that question, it’s also important to ask yourself, “who is a difficult customer?”

How to deal with difficult customers?


In accounting, you’re going to deal with different kinds of customers. No matter how good your services are, you will not satisfy all of them. Sometimes, a customer may be just hard to please. At other times, your actions or mistakes may anger the customer, making them angry.

It’s also important to note that not all difficult accounting customers are angry, rude, or aggressive. Others can be soft-spoken and polite but they are still difficult to deal with. Learning how to handle difficult customers is one of the challenges accounting professionals deal with in their daily work.

So, before you learn how to deal with difficult customers, you need to know who they are. By difficult customers, we mean those who portray the following behaviors:

Too Demanding/Angry Customers

Some customers may be demanding and angry if you don’t meet their demands. Such customers may also exhibit rude, aggressive, and arrogant behaviors. These customers can even get physical if they don’t get what they want.

How do you deal with angry customers?

Once a customer is angry, it can be extremely difficult to reason with them. But you must learn how to handle difficult customers who are already angry.

No matter how disrespectful these customers get, don’t get into a shouting match with them. You should be calm and confident when addressing them.

Don’t take their insults to heart. Wait for them to calm down a little before you explain the situation and offer a solution. If you handle the situation calmly, you might end up with loyal customers, even though they might not be less difficult.

The Complainer/Ever Unsatisfied Customer

Some customers can complain too much, even if you try your best to meet their demands. You can never satisfy this type of customer. No matter what you do, they’ll always find a mistake to complain about.

How to handle complaining customers

As you learn how to deal with difficult customers, it’s also important to understand that you can’t please everyone. While complaining customers can be harmless to you, they might harm your business indirectly. If you find yourself going out of your way just so that they get what they want, you’re harming your business.

Check if their complaints are valid and try to fix what you can. If you can’t offer what they want, give them your attention and explain your part calmly. If this customer comes back, ensure you understand what they want right from the beginning so you don’t go back and forth.

Indecisive Customer

This customer doesn’t know what they want and won’t take your suggestions. They ask so many questions and might not end up taking your accounting services, no matter how you try to convince them. They want to be 100% sure of what they want, and even the slightest doubt can get them to change their minds.

How to deal with indecisive customers

Indecisive customers can waste a lot of your time and exhaust your energy. But you can still win them if you understand their pain points. Understand their expectations in terms of price, quality, and features.

Once you understand what they want, sweeten the deal. Give them a discount or offer a money-back guarantee. Be careful not to go too overboard and end up with losses trying to satisfy them. With the right approach, you’ll know exactly how to handle difficult customers.

The Expert/Know-It-All Customer

Another set of challenging customers you will meet in your accounting work are those who tend to know everything. The know-it-all customer will want you to do things their way, even if it doesn’t make sense. These customers believe they’re always right and can be critical of your work.

How to deal with know-it-all customers

One lesson you’ll come across when learning how to deal with difficult customers is that they can mislead you. Understand that you’re the expert here, and you know your work better than anyone. As far as you might still accept their suggestions and try to satisfy them, make sure you’re working within reason.

First, acknowledge their knowledge of your accounting services. If they’re wrong and still insist they’re right, don’t argue with them.

Give them additional information about what they already know. Provide facts and even better solutions to their problems. Let them leave with their egos intact.

The Impatient Customer

Impatient customers are always in a hurry and want you to drop everything and serve them. These customers want their problems solved right away. They won’t accept delays and may not understand even if you experience technical issues in your accounting work. The customers can resort to anger if you don’t meet their deadlines.

How to deal with impatient customers

If you don’t know how to handle impatient customers, you might fail to please your other clients. You can’t lose five customers trying to please one. Understand that all your customers need prompt service and undivided attention.

Explain to the impatient customer how you offer your services and how long they’ll need to wait. Appreciate their patience and do your best to serve them as soon as possible. If they can’t wait, don’t let them ruin your work.

Unreasonable Customer

So, how to handle difficult customers that become very unreasonable? You must start by understanding that unreasonable customers won’t listen to your explanation. They are already angry and might even demand a refund. They might not care about your refund policy. They want what they want right away.

How to deal with unreasonable customers

Try to reason with them as much as possible, even if they don’t care. If they want a refund, tell them about your company’s refund policy. While it’s advisable to refund their money to avoid additional problems, follow the right channels. Be clear about when you’ll process it and how long they should wait.

How Do You Deal with Difficult Accounting Clients?

You will deal with all kinds of difficult customers in your accounting business. Almost every day comes with different client issues that you need to solve. So, while every customer situation is different, some things apply in every situation.

Here is how to handle difficult customers regardless of the situation.

  • Be professional: Even if a customer disrespects you, never get out of line. One of the ways of how to deal with difficult customers is to maintain professional communication and be mindful of every step you take.
  • Stay calm: Learning how to handle difficult customers starts with learning to be calm and not to panic easily. Don’t let their threats scare you, as long as you don’t break any laws while working with them.
  • Understand them: Understandability in accounting can mean that you are in the shoes of your customers. Explain the situation to them in a way that they can comprehend and make sure you’re on the same page.
  • Speak softly: Don’t engage in an argument with your accounting clients even if you’re right. Even a rude and aggressive customer can soften up and listen if you speak softly.
  • Personalize their experience: Another answer to how to deal with difficult customers is to make them feel valued and respected by personalizing your accounting services. Don’t compare them with other customers and generalize the services.

Get a Reliable Accounting Solution

How to deal with difficult customers is one of the hard lessons you must learn in your accounting business. You will meet difficult customer service scenarios that will test your patience. How you deal with them will determine whether you’ll retain them.

When dealing with difficult customers, understand that they’re part of the challenges you’ll face in your day-to-day operations. Be in the shoes of your client and listen to their problems. Offer an apology for the misunderstanding and a solution that works for both of you.

You can also work towards avoiding mistakes that put you in a difficult spot with your customers by adopting Basil Practice Management for Accountants. This simple software will help you manage your accounting operations more efficiently for your clients and staff. With reliable software, you’ll be sure to reduce stress, improve customer relationships, and increase productivity. You will not have to learn how to handle difficult customers because you’ll rarely meet them.

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