Every now and then, every business, large and small alike, will have to deal with unhappy customers. Even the best companies know there is truth to the old adage, ‘You can’t please everyone”. While you can strive for 100% customer satisfaction (and you should!) most likely you’ll come across difficult, unpleasant customer.
Every case is different, but there are a few key things to keep in mind. Your primary goal is to diffuse the tense situation and attempt to appease the customer, while sticking to your company’s policy as much as possible.
First things first-
1. Remain calm and never argue back with a customer.
Don’t take the situation personally, even though it may feel that way. Keep your voice low, and keep speech at a slow, even rate. This will help you remain control of how you are expressing yourself. Demonstrating control is key with dealing with a demanding, difficult person. Be strong but respectful in the manner in which you speak.
2. Genuinely & actively listen.
It’s natural to want to tune out a difficult customer. No one likes to be scolded, argued with or yelled at. It’s critical to remain professional and keep your composure, regardless of how unreasonable the customer is behaving. Hear them out fully before responding and resist interjecting and interrupting them.
3. Offer support & sympathy.
Odds are the customer has at least a somewhat valid reason for being upset. Don’t disregard the issue altogether because they aren’t presenting it in a reasonable manner. Start by offer a sincere apology that they are unsatisfied with the service or product. Express to them that it’s not your company’s standard.
4. Give them as many options as possible.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to find a compromise and satisfy the customer by offering a couple of different solutions. However, don’t make empty promises. If you can’t help the customer or solve their problem yourself, find someone who can.
5. Let them “win”.
When all else fails, it’s best to surrender. Sometimes, this is the only way to put an end to the confrontation. But, it’s still a calculated move on your part. What tends to happen is the customer will begin to relax and even take some blame for what went wrong. That’s a typical human reaction when we are allowed to “win”.
Bottom line, never treat any customer as expendable. Their satisfaction and repeat business is critical to the success of any business. Do all you can to make the best of an unpleasant situation. It’s what separates a good business, from a great business!