Dealing With Difficult Customers

Welcome to "Dealing With Difficult Customers"! This training course will provide you with an easy 5 step process, to help you LEARN how to handle all of your difficult customers!  I hope you enjoy this E-Learning experience!  

Let's Get Started!


Module 1 L.E.A.R.N



True listening seems to be a disappearing art in our culture. But in order to communicate effectively with a difficult customer, it's imperative. If your customer is dissatisfied, listen to their concerns (do not interrupt them) if you need to take notes, do it. Your goal is to become clear on WHY they are upset. When it's your turn to talk, start by recapping what they said. This lets the customer know you have understood what they said and makes them feel heard.



Empathy is the ability to feel what other people feel - the key to forming meaningful relationships and coexisting peacefully with others. Some people are born with a natural ability to empathize, and others find it harder to relate to other people.You can offer sympathy to someone who is having a problem, but empathy will go much further toward achieving your goals. Put yourself in the customer's place. How would you feel in their shoes?



Accept what the customer says at face value, even if you think he is wrong. He thinks he is right, and perception is the most important thing. If he perceives that you accept and believe him, he will be more likely to relax and get to the point.  Even though your natural impulse may be to deny that you did anything wrong and to dismiss the customers concerns as unreasonable. Try to resist this impulse, and do some reflection. Was there a breakdown in communication, and if so, where did it occur? What should you do in the future to prevent these situations? 



If the client takes an angry, annoyed, or short tone with you, don't respond in kind. Doing so will only make things worse. Be the level-headed one in the situation, and maintain an air of total professionalism throughout the interaction. If the customer receives respect from you, he will likely return it. If he feels disrespected, it will be perceived as a personal attack. Remember, you can learn something from anybody, regardless of education level, financial situation, or physical appearance. Everyone deserves respect simply for being human.



If you successfully employ listening, empathizing, accepting, and respecting, you will pave the way for negotiating. You will have put the difficult person at ease. You will have helped him believe you are in his corner. He will be better prepared to drop his aggression and enter into negotiations, believing that you will treat him with fairness, honesty, and integrity.

Module 1 Quiz

The acronym LEARN identifies a five steps process for handling difficult customers. What are the five steps associated with LEARN?



  • Learn, Evaluate, Answer, Respond, Negotiate
  • Learn, Empathize, Accept, Respect, Negotiate
  • Listen, Empathize, Accept, Respect, Negotiate
  • All of the above.

What Is Active Listening vs. Passive Listening?

Active Listening

Active Listening

The act of mindfully hearing and attempting to comprehend the meaning of words spoken by another in a conversation or speech.

Active Listener's Characteristics

Active Listener's Characteristics:

  • Let the other person do the talking.

  • Avoid interrupting

  • Avoid pre-judging what’s being said 

  • Avoid starting to think about their answer/ response 

  • Don’t finish other’s sentences or fill in the blanks 

  • Notice nonverbal communication 

  • Are comfortable with silence. 

  • Use paraphrasing

Passive Listening

Passive Listening

When a person is practicing passive listening, he is sitting quietly without responding to what the speaker is saying. Passive listening is not much different from hearing. For instance, many of us have found ourselves in situations where our minds would drift, we would lose our motivation in listening, and consider the information we hear as "a background noise" or pretend that we're listening just "to be polite." We think that we are listening, but in fact we are simply letting this information go past our brain.

Passive Listener's Characteristics

Passive Listener's Characteristics

  • Don’t get involved, and seem to have an ignoring attitude
  • Appear to be distracted from the topic
  • Assume they’ve heard and understood correctly
  • Don’t take measures to verify they’ve heard correctly
  • Don’t react to what they’ve heard
  • Doesn’t require effort
  • Listens to few words and talk more
  • Tend to be narrow-minded and unperceptive to new ideas

Module 2 Quiz

Match the Correct Type of Listener

Do the following statements describe a “Passive Listener” or an “Active Listener”?  For each statement below, please select the correct listener that is described.

  • Shows interest through tone, eye contact & body language.
    Active Listener
  • Is narrow-minded and unperceptive to new ideas.
    Passive Listener
  • Spends more time talking than listening.
    Passive Listener
  • Assumes they’ve heard and understood correctly, but doesn’t take measures to verify that assumption.
    Passive Listener
  • Spends more time listening than talking.
    Active Listener

Module 3 Listening Bad Habits

The Listening Dilema

Bad Habits

The majority of us fill this time with our listening, "Bad Habits".

Most Common Listening Bad Habits

Bad Habits

Do any of these statements sound like you?  How can we overcome our “Listening Bad Habits”?

Self Reflection

Reflect on your own bad listening habits.

Chose one of the statements that you read on the previous page, that describes one of your own listening bad habits and think of an alternative action that could be taken to overcome this “Listening Bad Habit”.