Five Tips to Diffusing a Situation with Difficult Customers
When it comes to business, you have to take the good with the bad, and sometimes the bad means dealing with difficult customers. Now, difficult customers is not to say they aren't good customers - they just take a little extra attention to ensure happiness. Many customers appear difficult due to some things not working properly, their products haven't arrived on time, or they were unhappy with your response to a problem they were having. There are many ways to diffuse the situation, and with that - we've compiled five tips to help you:
- Listen. Many times unhappy customers become even more enraged when they don't feel like you are listening to them. This is the perfect time to allow the customer to vent and explain their frustration. The reasons they are calling are to resolve the issue and to get an apology of sorts. So apologize, listen to their complaints and let them know you understand how frustrating problem X may be and that you'll do what you can to resolve the issue. When you show compassion to difficult customers, you show them support & in turn they are more opt to work with you.
- Empathize. It's okay to sympathize witht he customer, but empathy will go much further. If you imagine yourself in the customer's position, they are calling because they felt the service they received was less than satisfactory. Many customers will reach out for support, because they are looking for a solution, and in some cases it's not one reason, but a few things that led up to the actual phone call. So it is best to keep your cool, and let the customer explain their frustrations to work closer to a resolution.
- Accept. Accept what the customer says at face value, even if you think they are wrong. It mainly comes down to how the customer perceives that you are listening to the information that they are telling you. If they feel as though you are on their side, he or she will be more likely to relax and get to the point.
- Respect. Remember the rule that was always instilled growing up 'treat others how you would like to be treated' the same goes for diffusing difficult customers. Treat them with respect, and they will show the same respect in return. If you don't treat them with respect, you can expect that the situation will not be diffused but only amplified.
- Negotiate. If you successfully employ listening, empathizing, accepting and respecting, you will pave the way for negotiating. At this point you will have diffused the situation, all while bringing the customer to your corner. Finally, always try and resolve the customer with one single conversation. The quicker the issue is resolved, the better the customer will feel about the interaction.
For more information on dealing with difficult customers, click here.