Most business owners have to deal with upset or frustrated customers, especially if you’re engaged in a service-oriented industry. While it’s a very challenging task, if you handle the situation well, you may even improve your relationship with your customer and produce more opportunities. Read on below to learn some techniques on how to handle difficult customers, so that you can quickly resolve issues and leave them pleased.
- Don’t take it personally – Upset customers are highly likely to have strong emotions when you, your products/services disappointed them. And they’d probably want to unload these rants on you. They may even yell at you like their on fire but don’t let them get under your skin—even if they’re being utterly unrealistic or rude. Odd as it may seem, the customer is always right even if they’re wrong sometimes. So just let them vent out, ignore any personal remarks and never argue.
- Listen keenly – Hearing is simply not enough. You need to pay attention to what your customers are saying. Doing so shows that you’re genuinely interested in their issues and how to solve them. Don’t interrupt nor try to fix the situation right away. Repeat the customer’s complaint so he/she knows you fully understand his/her concerns.
- Empathize and apologize – Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes is similar to empathizing. It shows you understand where they’re coming from. Responses like “I understand” or “I would feel the same way too” are helpful just as long as you’re sincere. Apologize for the trouble but be sure to avoid saying “I’m sorry” too much. The more you say it, the more it becomes annoying and redundant.
- Provide a solution – First, give options how to rectify the situation. Customers love options. Compromise whenever necessary. Ask the customer what would make them happy and work together towards a viable solution. Once you’ve both come to an agreement on a solution, you should then apply it immediately. Be sure to explain in detail each step you’re going to perform to correct the issue.
- Follow up/get feedback – After resolving the problem, don’t forget to follow up with your customer over the next couple days or so to ensure he/she’s satisfied. Go the extra mile if possible. Sending a gift certificate or discount coupon on his/her next order would be a nice gesture.
As you know, difficult customers may make or break your business or career. The next time you find yourself in this dilemma, just remember these customer service tips above to easily sort things out in a means that works favorably both for you and your customer.
Fia M. Caballero
(SEO, Internet Marketing and Research)