5 types of toxic clients you should avoid

Nothing surprises me anymore. And I don’t think it’s just me, guess the more we become inundated with news the more we learn to tune out the distressing and the depressing. However, once in a blue moon I see a headline that makes my face re-form and assume that famous chronic surprised “after too much Botox” look. I’ve had that face for a few days at the end of last week brought on by headlines like “Trump support banned by knitting website Ravelry over ‘white supremacy’” or “’White supremacy’: popular knitting website Ravelry bans support for Trump’. Yes. You’ve read it right: the social networking site for knitters, crocheters and weavers has announced they are banning the white supremacy clients. Now, those are some toxic clients. They didn’t make it to our list of 5 poisonous customers you should avoid, but, let me kick this article off by clearly stating: should those white supremacy knitters and crocheters make an appearance in your store use Raverly as an example and ban them.


This kind of customer will bluff and lie for no reason whatsoever, they will waste your time and make a lot of promises none of which will be kept. Of course, spending time with clients is time well spent, especially if you’re a high-end store and customer retention is of the highest importance, then small talks, exchanging pleasantries and building long-lasting productive relationships are a must for stores revenue. On the other hand, if you are employed by Starbucks or work in a Gap outlet time wasters can, unfortunately, do a lot of harm. Just as an example these kinds of clients have 20 minutes of free time available to ask you if the vanilla that you put in your cheesecake came from the southwest part of Grenada and 20 people that are standing behind them don’t and will go to the coffee shop next door and won’t come back.

How to identify: a lot of product unrelated small talk, too many questions that can be easily answered by reading a label, menu, or a description, repetitiveness, they rarely listen to your answers. They will debate the price, discuss additional shipping requirements, deliberate delivery time, etc.

How to deal with them: invest in great digital signage soft, place a few screens in the store, shop or restaurant and make your staff useful somewhere else. People love using tech while shopping, so there won’t be a lot of complaints about missing staff and there are so much other restaurant and retail-related features and functions that come along with digital signage soft that time wasters will become a distant memory. If you need a recommendation – we work with Kitcast TV digital signage, they have amazing eye-catching designs, all of the necessary functions and features, amazing app, ability to integrate any retail or restaurant-adjacent tech and we are yet to find an employee who can’t figure out how to use their soft within 5 minutes. Additionally, digital signage is perfect to train your staff how to handle time wasters if against all of the odds they have been cornered by one.


These types of customers, the way they act, talk and address the staff can empty out your store or shop in just a few minutes, no one wants to shop in close proximity to angry jerks. The aggressive type is sure of one thing – they know better. Whatever it is, they are always right and they will become more aggressive, if not full blown violent, when confronted or faced with a need to defend or explain their point of view.

How to identify: your staff will be able to spot them a mile away. Red-faced, yelling nonsense like: “Do you know who I am?”, “Are you stupid?!”, “You’ll all be fired!!” etc.

How to deal with them: they love conflict and look to start an argument, so, there is no point in trying to talk to them or explain your side of things. Teach your staff to de-escalate the situation by removing the staff member who is the main focus of the aggressive attack, this type usually picks one staffer to attack. Staff should never raise the voice or become accusatory. If there is no way to de-escalate the conflict police or security should be called ASAP.


These shoppers have just given up on everything long before they came through your doors, they really don’t care. They will usually wander aimlessly through your shop talking on the phone.  And for you three or more unsupervised children running around will quickly result in destroyed sugar and cream station in your coffee shop, 100 items of clothing off the hangers and on the floor of your clothing store, and horrified expression on customers faces quickly leaving your shop.

How to identify: The worst customer ever times three & up.

How to deal with them: Digital signage to the rescue! Great DS soft (I prefer software for AppleTV, like Kitcast), a touchscreen display or a couple of tablets will annihilate this problem. There is literally nothing that kids love more than games, and those who aren’t playing will be watching with the same enthusiasm. Don’t make everyone in your store suffer because some people make bad decisions and drag their kids to the store with them. A screen can be your babysitter and parent in one. Plus, such screens are a perfect way of advertising games, toys, candy, etc.


The only goal of these shoppers is finding a bargain, they need a discount every time. They come baring printed or online coupons, carrying folders with 10-year-old coupons that have no expiration dates. Moreover, this type has morphed in a more advanced one – the type that would like a discount without a coupon or a sale, and those are the worst. They will find absolutely anything that they think is wrong worth the product or go as far as to ruin the item themselves to then ask for a lower price.

How to identify: they will bring you garments with missing buttons, mysterious stains, they will point out scratches on boxes, etc. Whatever it is they are pointing out to you they feel they deserve at least a 40% discount.

How to deal with them: politely ask the reason for the discount they are asking and offer to replace the item in question with a new one, you’ll probably have the same item in stock with no stains or scratches. When your offer will be rejected and you will confirm that the price is the only obstacle to purchase. So, you can try to negotiate a lower discount price, give them a discount in exchange for a great review or just say no.


These clients are not necessarily marked by in-store awful or unpleasant behavior. Maybe they aren’t satisfied with the way your staff answered their questions, or they’ve bought some food that they didn’t like or you didn’t refund the nonrefundable item bought on clearance, whatever it is you’ll know about it when they’ll start harassing you online. They’ll lie, manipulate, paint themselves as victims, stock your social media pages, live one-star reviews, etc.

How to identify and deal with them: honestly, there isn’t a way to identify their in-store behavior and there’s almost nothing you can do to prevent them from harassing you online. If they want some kind of compensation they will clarify it early on, though usually they are just doing this for hype on their own page and there is little that can be done about it. Stop all communications with them, the more you respond – the more they’ll be terrorizing you online. And, if their complaints didn’t go viral and started a PR disaster for you just forget about it.  If that option won’t due, there’s always the courts and defamation lawsuits.

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Written by Abid Nevesinjac

CEO / Founder of Largest SEO Marketplace


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