Have you ever had a customer standing in front of you complaining not sure how to handle it?

How do you decide the type of customer you are dealing with before deciding on a plan of action?

And why is this important?

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We all have our own personalities, motivations and quirks. The same can be said for the unhappy person standing in front of you and if you can determine the type of person that is, the chances of you handling the complaint successfully will increase dramatically.


Another reason why it is important to understand your customer is statistics have shown that in the past if someone was pleased with your service, they might tell three friends; if they were displeased they might tell 11 friends. Today, due to the growth of social media if someone is displeased those 11 friends may quickly become thousands or even tens of thousands of friends.


Two more reasons to handle complaints effectively is that it is easier and less expensive to win back the customer that had a negative experience then try to attract new customers.

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  • Up to 95% of customers will give you a second chance if you handle their complaint successfully and in a timely manner.
  • Resolve a complaint in the customer’s favour and they will do business with you again 70% of the time.


*These last two statistics are cited from the Jim Moran Institute and Lee Resources: 


Now keep in mind, you won’t be able to satisfy every unhappy customer who contacts you, but the financial returns to your business from turning a displeased customer’s service experience into a positive are huge.


It has been our experience that customers that complain can be categorized into different groups. Let’s look at 5 most common groups.


1. The Mild Customer: normally does not like to complain, but if you see there is a problem, you might be required to ask more precise questions to get them to tell you what is wrong.


2. The Pushing Customer: Blunt and not at all timid about telling you what’s on their mind.  With this type of customer your are better off not being pushy back, rather react with “What else may I help you with?”  Prove that you’re willing to listen to their problem.


3. The Big Spender: Your “enterprise” customer; they have no problem paying for convenience and top notch service. However, they demand superior support for it. No customer cares for excuses, this customer detests hearing them. So don’t make excuses, just tell them how you are going to take care of their problem.


4. The Habitual Complainer: This customer will contact you a great deal, but that does not mean that their problems should be brushed aside. Here is where patience is called for. One thing is for sure; when this customer is satisfied they will have no problems about telling others how great you are.


5. The Rip-Off Customer: This might sound a little harsh but we have all seen them. This customer is never happy and is not actually looking for an acceptable reaction; they’re just seeking to get something they don’t deserve. Nothing is good enough unless they are getting a handout. The best thing you can do is to stay calm and react as objectively as you can.


That’s our look at 5 most common complaining customer groups…


If you have any interesting stories about complaining customers or have a new group you would like to add to the list or have any questions or feedback you can leave them in the comments section of the show notes.


A pdf of each episode can also be found in the show notes at our website:




Let’s continue to work together to put heads in your beds.

Until next time, have a fun day.


Show Notes:

Written Script of “5 Most Common Types of Complaining Customers & How to Handle Them” Podcast in PDF


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