Thursday, January 19, 2012

Turning customer demands into personal expectations

Most of us have customers that we consider "difficult". We use all sorts of adjectives to describe them. 

If you set aside personality differences (since we can't change those), difficult customers are often described with phrases like:

  • "They expect to much for what they are paying."
  • "They are never happy with us."
  • "Everything has to be done yesterday for them."
  • "All they do it point fingers." 
Customers are always going to fight for the best, fastest and cheapest. Some customers have personalities that make them more forceful and demanding. They often end up being seen as the "difficult" ones.

Given this, when we hear or say a comments like these about a customer, step back and consider; How can I turn that into a service goal rather than taking it as a personal attack? Perhaps they are being difficult in the way that they are interacting with you but there is probably some validity to their complaint.

Ask yourself these types of questions instead:
  • How can I give better value?
  • How can I improve my service standards?
  • How can we improve our response or turn around time?
  • How can I be more accountable for our service?
Remind yourself that the [insert expletive descriptor here] might be demanding, but there is probably something to what he is saying.


  1. In defence of the customer.. a excerpt from a recent article - "Instantly, as the bill is handed to the clerk, it changes, in the hands of the clerk, it becomes valueless, it is just a piece of paper that will only be stuffed (rather disrespectfully) along with the stacks of money already in the till. It only becomes a number that will be counted at the end of the shift and recorded on a piece of paper for deposit" - for the full article go to

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