8 Types of Difficult Shoppers & How to Handle Them


Cloe Matheson
Guest Contributor

Understanding the root of your shopper’s dissatisfaction, whether it’s feeling ignored, cheated, or not being able to find what they want, allows you to choose the proper techniques to solve for the challenge, improving your shopper’s satisfaction, your own job satisfaction and the reputation of your brand.

Have you ever come across a shopper and thought, “Oh, wow. They think nothing like me!”

As a customer-facing retail professional, categorization can help you learn to respond in the best manner possible. Check out these typical character profiles below to see what’s going on in your difficult shopper’s mind.

Impulsive shoppers want to do business fast, without focusing on the details. Aggressive shoppers are likely to be animated and demand a different treatment than other shoppers and customers. Critical shoppers are well-informed about your products and services and like to criticize. Demanders are determined, know what they want, and ask for things you often can’t offer. Complainers make a small thing seem like a problem. They keep complaining until you solve all their concerns. Budgeters insist on the lowest prices and greatest values. They’ve done research and compared prices in advance. Indecisive customers just can’t decide what they want, regardless of how much information and answers you give them. Finally, Talkative shoppers drain your time with excessive conversation many times unrelated to their own shopping missions; you may find yourself struggling to communicate with them effectively.

Solutions – Handling Customers

Great customer service shapes the picture of your brand in your shoppers’ minds. Listen carefully and rephrase what they say to show you understand them. Be brief and concise.

Speak slowly and softly, especially if you’re dealing with an aggressive or critical shopper. Offer alternative solutions. Make certain you remain calm and not take it personally. Explain clearly why something must be done in a certain way and give them examples. Do your job thoroughly – this is very important!

Show them you are well-familiar with, and understand, their concerns and requests. Give them objective pros and cons and offer the best option discreetly.

For online customer service inquiries, offer your shoppers multi-language live chat for customer support so they can get solutions in their preferred language.

Make sure you’re not at fault. About 75 percent of customers find customer support rudeness highly annoying and 60 percent don’t appreciate pushy salespeople, according to a 2015 survey by Consumer Reports.

You’ll probably find it easier to handle people once you categorize them and treat them accordingly. Shoppers feel valued when you pay attention to their concerns. Have respect for yourself and don’t get pulled into emotional arguments – try your best listen with empathy.

Understand what is making them unsatisfied: whether it’s feeling ignored, cheated, or not being able to find what they want. These techniques can improve your own job satisfaction, your customer’s satisfaction, and the company’s reputation – so everyone’s a winner.

About the writer: Cloe Matheson is enjoying her freelance writing career in Dunedin, New Zealand. She has written and edited articles for numerous lifestyle and business sites, such as Tax Management NZ. Explore more of Cloe’s published pieces on her personal blog.

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