A major part of the courier industry is interactions with customers, but what happens when those customers are difficult?

Difficult customers can do more than give you an unpleasant conversation – they could cost you money and time, damage your staff morale and your business’ reputation or jeopardise your entire company.

As a courier, it is important to know how to handle difficult customers to protect your business and ideally to win them over.

Difficult customers – an overview of the risks and challenges

As a courier, it goes without saying that you want your customers to be happy and to do the right thing – but that won’t always happen.

The same person might be a happy customer one day and a difficult customer the next if they have a bad experience.

Difficult customers don’t usually appear without a root cause to trigger their displeasure or, in the worst case, a weakness that they spot in your service.

The root causes of dissatisfied customers in the courier industry include:

  • Delays: customers want to know when their parcel will arrive and they want it to arrive precisely within the estimated time. People get upset if their parcel takes a very long time to come or if you or the sender told them a time-frame that wasn’t fulfilled.
  • Damaged goods: customers understandably dislike their goods arriving in damaged condition. It may or may not be your fault, but often you will have to talk to them about it.
  • Lost or stolen goods: the issue of lost or stolen goods is even worse than that of delayed or damaged goods. This can set customers into a difficult mood because the frustration of not receiving their goods is added on top of their confusion about what has happened to it, who’s to blame and doubts about getting compensation.
  • Bad customer service: Customers can become difficult if they were offended or frustrated by your customer service. If they couldn’t get a hold of you, you had slow response times, or you said or did something that triggered their anger then they could become difficult. On the other hand, great customer service during complaints management can diffuse their annoyance.
  • You don’t offer precisely the service they want: Sometimes customers have expectations or demands which you can’t or don’t want to do. Negotiating across that gap can be difficult.


How can difficult customers negatively affect your courier business? 

Not addressing customer complaints properly can result in serious consequences, such as financial losses, bad reviews, legal disputes, and even physical harm to you or your staff. That’s why it’s crucial to handle customer concerns with empathy and professionalism to avoid these potential outcomes.


Difficult customers may:

  • Withdraw their own business with you causing you a loss of potential income.
  • Want refunds. They might want their money back after you have already provided a service.
  • Give you bad reviews and negative referrals
  • Claim against you. They might make insurance claims against you.
  • Take you to court.
  • Report you to the authorities.
  • Damage the morale of your team members.
  • Physically or psychologically harm you or your staff.


Strategies and techniques for difficult customers

Prevention is the best thing, but given that difficult and challenging customers will appear there are some practical things that you can do about it.


Running a courier business can be a risky game, with all sorts of things that can go wrong and cause losses for both you and your customers. By protecting you from potential liabilities, couriers insurance gives you peace of mind knowing that you’re covered if something goes awry.

And it’s not just about protecting yourself – insurance can also be a powerful tool for keeping your customers happy. When something goes wrong and a customer is left unhappy, being able to tell them that their loss is insured and they’ll receive compensation quickly can go a long way towards smoothing things over.

Even if you’re an expert at handling difficult customers, courier insurance in Perth is still a must-have. After all, you never know what kind of curveballs life might throw your way. With insurance in place, you can rest easy knowing that your business is protected from the heavy and unpredictable consequences of adverse events.

Consider the following couriers insurance to safeguard your business:

  • Products and Public Liability – this covers injury or damage that you might inadvertently cause to a customer.
  • Commercial vehicle insurance – this covers any damage you might cause to a customer’s body or property. It also helps keep you on the road so that you don’t have delays.
  • Transit insurance – this covers the customer’s goods from damage, loss or theft while in your care.

Dispute resolution

Once a difficult customer has approached you with their complaint, there are strategies and techniques that you can use to work towards the best possible outcome for both sides.

  1. Approach the difficult situation with fair goals in mind: to do what’s fair, amend any mistakes, prevent further damage, improve your business, and turn the customer into a happy one.
  2. Listen actively and empathetically to the customer’s complaint. Understand what they are saying and try to see things from their perspective.
  3. Stay calm and don’t take things personally, even if the customer is being rude or irate.
  4. Explain clearly and honestly what you can and cannot do to resolve their complaint.
  5. If you can’t fix the customer’s problem directly, consider how you can change how you work to prevent similar issues from happening in the future.
  6. Fulfill your promises as soon as possible to provide a positive customer experience.
  7. If you find that the customer cannot be pleased by anything you do or say, focus on protecting yourself and your business. Seek legal aid or contact the police if necessary.


Protect your courier business with GSK Insurance Brokers

Difficult customers are a fact of life in business, but we can help you prevent things getting difficult in the first place and protect your business if it does get difficult.

We can do all that by providing comprehensive couriers insurance that can be tailored to your business. We’ve been helping businesses of all types get the right insurance in Perth for over 40 years and we’d love to help yours too. Contact GSK Insurance today for a free and rapid quote!

May 31, 2023

By Graham Knight

Founder and Managing Director of GSK Insurance (established in 1981). Graham draws upon more than 50 years’ experience in the insurance industry, working in both insurance and broking across various private, public and government sectors in Australia.

Leave a comment

Get a Free Quote Today!