One major challenge startups and entrepreneurs face is knowing how to deal with difficult customers. Practically, if you remove the customer factor from your business, you don’t have any reason being in business. Yes! customers are that powerful. As a matter of fact, no customer, no business.
Have you heard the saying, ‘The Customer is King’?
Indeed, they are. But, what do you do when a customer decide to have a tug of war with you? Will you still treat a customer that slaps you or your employee as king?
The truth is, you cannot escape this type of customers. However, the way you treat them says a lot about your customer service. Businesses should be customer service centric.
So, in this article, you will learn how to deal with difficult customers and turn them into evangelists for your business.
Ways To Deal With Difficult Customers
There are different types of difficult customers: the impatient, the complainant, the angry and cranky, the know it all, the unhappy and many more. To deal with them, follow the strategies listed below:
1. Listen Without Interruption
Listening is an art that every business owner or customer service manager must learn. First, listen carefully to the customer’s plight. Usually, some people feel better when they are allowed to air their challenge. Don’t listen to defend yourself. Listen to understand and solve the customer’s problem.
In addition, maintain eye contact while listening to them. This will show them that you care. By doing so, you will build trust with customers and they can in turn listen to you when you get the opportunity to speak. With both party on the same page, solving the problem will be easier.
2. Share Their Feelings
This has a lot to do with your non verbal communication. Your body language, eye contact, gestures and the likes. By showing empathy, the customer feel heard and understood.
You can also ask them questions to get clarity on why they feel dissatisfied. Sometimes, you may not necessarily be the problem. Some customers have faced disappointing experience with a similar company and they want to do
everything to ensure that the same situation doesn’t repeat itself.
By showing empathy, the customer will be reassured and will get to trust you.
3. Don’t Take It Personally
As a sales person, you must understand that whatever a customer says to you should not be taken personally. Besides, the customer knows little or nothing about you.
When you know this, you will not take any word used by the customer personally. Some customers will call you names and even insult you. You should control yourself from playing on the same level with them. Removing yourself personally from the situation and focusing on the good of the business will help you deal with situations better.
4. Allow the Customer To Win
In a situation where a customer refuse to listen to your explanations, you can let the customer win. Some people have a natural habit of always wanting to win an argument.
You need to be very strategic when dealing with such customers. By massaging their ego, you can get them to agree with your terms and it will be a win win for all. What I have noticed is that, words softly spoken can turn away anger. It is on you to remain calm and control the situation. Remember, it should not be to the detriment of your business.
See Also: How to improve on emotional intelligence
5. Remember, Your Reputation Is Important
If you are dealing with an angry customer, keep in mind that you have your name and that of your company to protect. Also, understand that anger is natural and everyone have their limit.
I read somewhere that an angry person has the maturity of a 2 year old. So, resist every will to fire back at your customer. When you go the same route with an angry customer, it will not speak well of you or your company.
Another important thing is that when you are able to convince an angry customer, they turn out to be good advocates for your business. So, you don’t want to ruin that chance.
When dealing with an angry customer, do this:
- Speak with a calm tone but, be assertive at the same time.
- Avoid calling names or pointing finger at your customer.
- Listen attentively to them.
- Repeat back what the customer said to show you are listening.
- Apologise to the customer.
- Tell them how you will solve the problem and be sincere about it.
6. Show Self Control
When a customer becomes extremely abusive or violent, it’ll have a negative effect on your work environment. It can affect your employee’s motivation and its not a good scene for other customers to see. Try as much as you can to control yourself and never get physical. Remain calm and collected.
However, if you’ve tried all you can to reason with the customer and they remain adamant, you can politely tell the customer to leave. In extreme situations, it may be necessary to call in the police or security when your physical safety and that of others is at stake. The truth is, there are some customers you cannot just please.
7. Don’t Be Afraid
Sometimes, in a bid to make customers happy, we give in and compromise to the extent that it affects our business. Really, you cannot solve every customer’s problem. For instance, if a client is requesting for an impossible discount, you have to be stern about your pricing using a low, calm and convincing tone.
On the other hand, you don’t have to solve their problem immediately. So, don’t be afraid to tell them you’ll get back to them with a workable solution to their complaint within a defined time.
8. Use That Feedback
Some customer have justifiable reasons to be difficult. So, you need to ensure the situation doesn’t repeat itself. Did they complain about your employee, product or service? Fix it immediately.
You have to bear in mind that one unhappy people can reach more than 10 people and the 10 people can tell their friends too. The same also applies when a customer is satisfied. They will also spread the news but bad news spread like wildfire.
In conclusion, every business owner must know how to deal with difficult customers because this determines the success or failure of the business. Have you experienced a difficult customer before? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comment section.
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