Unfortunately, some customers will always be difficult, if not impossible to please. Difficult customers are by definition, dissatisfied with your products or services. But too often they're negative, angry, rude, impatient, demanding, more aggressive people whose reactions to the situation are much stronger than is reasonable. Their reactions may really result from having other frustrations because this latest problem, being the proverbial last straw. You are little more than a convenient target for their frustration and also may have special requests that cannot reasonably be met. For instance, my five year old phone broke and I want the latest phone as a replacement for free, but they demand them anyway. However, that is not always the case. Customers can be very nice people but challenging for other reasons and may have trouble communicating. Either because they speak a different language than yours or have trouble hearing. They may be inexperienced buyers who require a lot of attention to make a decision. A good example is the first time home buyer who was anxious about picking the perfect home they can still afford. Or customers may know very little about your products and require a lot of educating before anything else can happen. Some customers are also overly talkative, possibly because they're lonely, or just like to talk. Finally, it's a bit of a stereotype, but elderly people, like my parents often need extra assistance when dealing with new technology or things that scare them, like health care decisions. All of these individuals are challenging and require special skills, experience, and patience. When dealing with them, you need to keep your composure and remember you can't please everyone every time. The key is to listen, be honest, and do your best to find a solution that is agreeable to everyone. Unfortunately, you yourself may actually create difficult customers by letting stereotypes shape your perceptions and actions. Stereotypes are ideas or beliefs about a person or group that are based on a person's appearance, gender, race, religion, where they live, or what they do for a living, that are untrue or only partly true. Stereotypes simplify our social world by reducing the amount of thinking required when we meet a new person. Instead, we infer that a person has characteristics and abilities we ascribe to all members of that group. Stereotyping is a type of prejudice because any given characteristic is only a small part of who a person is. Stereotypes can be positive or negative judgments. Many people stereotype American Southerners as friendly,, whereas New Yorkers are expected to be rude. Tall people are often seem to be natural born leaders, whereas shorter people are not. The list goes on. The problem comes when you treat customers in a certain way based on your stereotypes. For example, being nicer to a good looking person than you are to one you do not consider attractive. This is actually quite common and people do notice, because it has probably happened before. They may become more difficult to deal with because you have upset them and made a bad situation worse. Obviously, this is something you want to avoid. The gold standard here is to treat each person as an individual. Don't mentally categorize people based on how they speak, act, or look, and treat them accordingly. Allowing preconceptions to intrude will damage your relationship with the customer and interfere with your ability to help them. Ultimately, successful service is delivered through effective communication skills, a positive attitude, patience, knowledge, service experience and willingness to help the customer. Your ability to focus on the situation or problem not the person, will be a very important factor in your success. Making this distinction is especially important when faced with difficult situations, like the ones we've talked about. Although you may not understand or approve of a person's behavior, they are still your customer and you should try to make the interaction a positive one. When necessary remember, it's okay to ask for assistance from a coworker or your boss. It does take a lot of training and experience to take difficult customers in stride, but if you put in the time and effort, you will find yourself to be up to the task.