Dealing with the Difficult

There are two types of difficult customers.  There are those that are naturally difficult, and there are those that have not been properly serviced and have a genuine grievance.

Regardless of which flavor you are dealing with, the most important thing to realize when dealing with an upset customer, is to deal with their feelings first then you can deal with their problem.  Upset customers are emotionally charged when you, your product or service lets them down and they’ll probably want to “dump” these feelings on you.  Here are six ways to deal with the customers’ human needs:

Listen and Acknowledge: Patiently listen to what they are saying and let them know that you understand.  Reflect back to them what you have heard: “I understand that you have not received the package as promised…”

Don’t React Emotionally: Brace yourself, lend an ear, then let it wash over you, otherwise you will likely end up in an argument.  You may be on the receiving end of some verbal abuse, be ready for it and ignore it.

Do Not Contradict The Customer: You have to assume whatever has happened is 100 percent true for them.  You may not agree with their version but it’s their version, and they believe it.

Apologize: Look the customer in the eye and say, “I apologize” rather than “I’m sorry”.  It’s overused and they hear it too often.  A good idea is use the “I apologize” words in a sentence such as “I apologize for not having sent the parcel earlier.”

Use Empathy: It’s an effective way to deal with the customer’s feelings.  Empathy isn’t about agreement- only acceptance of what the customer is saying and feeling.  Be genuine about it otherwise your customers will think you are being patronizing.  Use words like, “I understand that you are frustrated…”.

Build Rapport: Sometimes it’s useful to add another phrase to the empathy response, including yourself in the picture.  For example, “I can understand that you are frustrated; I don’t like it either when I’m kept waiting.”  Do this well and you may not only salvage the sale, but possibly be able to up sell them!

Human beings are primarily driven by their emotions. In today’s competitive environment, customers are very aware of their choices and are quick to express anger, frustration and dissatisfaction.  If you focus on human responses and show your customers that you genuinely care, they will be more likely to forgive your mistakes and accept what you say.

YOUR CHALLENGE:   Notice how your organization treat upset customers and also notice how you are treated the next time you are the upset customer.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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