Dealing with Difficult Customers
In business, you must know how to deal with all types of customers in an endeavour to keep them. Excellent customer service involves having a well-prepared plan that provides customers with options to meet their expectations and needs.
When a customer is angry, frustrated and demanding immediate action, it is extremely important that you follow a process to defuse the situation. It takes patience to calm customers who may yell and threaten to take their business elsewhere – some angry customers may even threaten to sue or demand unrealistic outcomes. You need to prepare for such challenges so that you can always deliver outstanding customer service.
To convert an angry customer into a happy customer, and to ensure the best possible outcomes for the customer and the company / organisation you represent, you need to be sure you:
- Manage your emotions: the way you manage your emotions when dealing with an angry customer will often determine whether the customer remains with your business or goes to your competitors.
- Are silent and listen intently as the customer communicates their issue. Do not rush the customer or interrupt to end their complaint.
- Take notes to show the customer that you care about resolving their issue.
- Speak slowly to calm down the customer. Repeat what the customer said after they finish stating their complaint, and get confirmation from them that you understand their issue.
- Acknowledge and sympathise with the customer to make them feel important.
- Never blame your company, other staff members / colleagues, or suppliers
- Show the customer that you are taking control to support them. Customers are looking for someone they can trust and may become angrier if you show uncertainty and lack of confidence, use weak verbal or non-verbal communication.
- Do not make promises you cannot keep.
- Explain in simple terms what you are going to do for the customer. Customers want you to be honest, to take an interest in and prioritise their issue, and to present a solution to address it.
- Offer a range of options that the customers can choose from to fix the problem.
- Explain the resolution process and the likely outcomes.
- If the customer has come to you, offer the customer some tea or coffee while they wait for an outcome.
- Always overestimate the time it would take to resolve the issue so that you exceed the customer’s expectations.
- Offer to follow-up with the customer to ensure that commitments have been met.
- Thank the customer for bringing the issue to your attention and allowing you to resolve it
Should a customer become hostile and start to abuse you, immediately call for support from your manager or team leader who can then ask the customer to leave your store. Such a situation should rarely happen if you follow the recommendations above.
Positive Resolutions = Positive Customers
Remember, angry customers are looking for someone to listen to their complaint and help them get a positive outcome. In most cases, customer complaints which are resolved result in more sales opportunities through cross-selling or upselling – 75% of customers will return to buy from you if they were satisfied with how you resolved their issue.
For more tips on how to turn angry customers to happy, download our cheat sheet today!
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