Difficult Customer or Excellent Opportunity?

Difficult Customer or Excellent Opportunity?

Your customers are what make your business. The type of relationships you cultivate with them will determine whether or not you can count on them for repeat business — which equals revenue growth. Excellent customer service is not one-size-fits-all, although you prioritize for your customers to have good experiences with the services you offer, you may sometimes run into unhappy patrons.

Difficult customers come in two flavors:

  1. Obnoxious people who are naturally difficult.
  2. Customers who have not been properly serviced and have a genuine grievance.

Customers may be people internal to your organization (like your boss), as well as external, like family members or strangers.

Most of us genuinely set out to provide exceptional service to both — your internal and external customers. However, in reality, things can go wrong and mistakes are made. Your customers are more likely to judge your level of service based on how you respond to them and how you handle the issue. If you do it well, they will probably forgive you and possibly even say positive things about your business or abilities to other people.

A customer that has a bad experience dealing with you is 10 times more likely to tell their friends and colleagues about it than about the many times they had good experiences with you. It’s human nature; we tend to focus more on the negative than the positive.

The most important thing to realize when dealing with an upset customer, be it internal or external, is that you must focus on their feelings and then 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.

You won’t deal with their feelings by merely concentrating on solving the problem; it takes much more.

Here are six ActionCOACH ideas that deal with the customers’ human needs:

  1. Listen and Acknowledge: Patiently listen to what they are saying and let them know that you understand. You should repeat back to them what you have heard: “I understand that you have not received the package as promised…”
  2. Don’t React Emotionally: Let it wash over you. Otherwise, you will end up in an argument. You may be on the receiving end of some verbal abuse or insulting comments. Be ready for it and ignore it.
  3. Do Not Contradict The Customer: Whatever has happened is 100 percent true for them. You may not agree with their version, but it’s their version.
  4. 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 to use the “I apologize” words in a sentence such as “I apologize for not having sent the parcel earlier.”
  5. 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. Use words like, “I understand that you are frustrated…” Be genuine about it, otherwise, your customers will think you are being patronizing.
  6. 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.” This has the effect of getting on the customer’s side and building rapport. If you do this well, you may be able to successfully rescue the situation, save the sale and possibly go on to upsell 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 in any interaction and show your customers that you genuinely care, they will be more likely to forgive your mistakes and accept what you say.

All it takes is one moment — and how you act and react will make all the difference when it comes to finding an effective resolution to your customers’ dissatisfaction. It is my hope that these ideas will help you navigate through this process and will help your customers see that their satisfaction is your top priority.

About the author, Sheles Wallace

Sheles is an award-winning business coach who gets results for her clients.
For over 15 years, she has helped business owners achieve their goals and
take their businesses to the next level. If you're ready to take the next
step in your business evolution and go from an owner who wears all hats to
creating a commercial, profitable enterprise that runs without you, find out

more here: https://calendly.com/sheles/introduction?month=2021-06