Don’t let dealing with awkward people stop excellent customer service
Not every day can be a good day and sometimes, in customer service, you will be dealing with difficult customers. This is often due to things you cannot control, and they can be seen as difficult due to reasons out of theirs: shipping issues that a third party has control over or a unexpected supplier issue. It could also be that you or one of your colleagues have done – including responses to your behaviour, communication or lack of it. Whichever way you view it, these shared tips can help you navigate the waters that some difficult customers can place you in.
1. Let your customer offload and tell you how they feel.
It is essential that you give your customer time and space to offload what ever issue has upset them. Just by doing this and empathising, can really help move forward towards a resolution. Once this has occurred and their feelings have been expressed, indicate that you understand how they must feel and apologise for their unhappiness – this does not mean you or your company are at fault, but you know what they are feeling (even if you do not feel they have been let down in anyway.) By doing this you are simply showing you support them in their role as your customer and shows that you have a real rapport with them, which will help move things forward.
2. Listen – actively listen – to what your customers is saying.
You need to appreciate you customers viewpoint of the problem, even if their viewpoint is not your viewpoint.
Respect their opinion, even if you do not agree with it. If they are challenging your company policies, for example, state why they exist and why they must be enforced. In some situations, such as a response to a customer service issue, you may even completely agree with their point of view – in this ace you need to confirm your understanding about their view and offer a resolution to ease their frustration.
If it is supplier issue, you can display that whilst you lack immediate control, your willingness to help, can guide them through the issue to resolution. By offering an explanation and a willingness to help, difficult customers are more likely to appreciate your support and continue to support your business.
3. Fix the problem at hand immediately.
If you can offer an immediate response to an issue, do it. While this won’t – and shouldn’t be – the answer for all difficult customer situations, having the corporate flexibility to quickly respond to difficult customers should be considered.
Difficult customers may have good reason to be upset, but regardless of this, if there are creating a scene in your store, in reception reception or via social media, you need to react positively, fast. For example – when a customer creates a scene in front of other customers, you should aim to resolve it as fast and quietly as possible. Retailers know how hard this can be as other customers in audience is never ideal when dealing with complaints, especially when you customer is being difficult, rude or upset.
The primary goal, when dealing with difficult customers, is to resolve the image fast, leaving your disgruntled customer feeling satisfied and ensure the individual still feels like a valued customer. Again, you might not agree with your customer 100%, but consider why you are doing this – any customer who becomes upset and loud in your business is also the sort of person who will talk about their experience with friends, family and other potential customers. This needs to provide ‘good press’ for your business.
Problems will occur, people will complain and still, your business must move forward. This is the nature of business – especially when it has customer service at its centre. How you cope with difficult customers will define you and your business – what gives your business real value.
The upside in dealing with difficult customers is that you can learn so much form them. Dealing with difficult customers will teach you how to strengthen your overall business and build overall success as their complaints, once successfully dealt with, provide effective building blocks to growth.
Turning a complaint or a difficult customer into a success and happy customer, creates the potential for building customer rapport and strengthening customer relationships. So, it is worth being grateful, every now and then, for the disgruntled customers as they offer the potential for you to shine and grow, when handled effectively.
and the peakinsight team
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