6 Strategies for Effectively Handling Difficult Customers
Whichever business you're in you'll almost certainly find that some customers will be delighted with everything you do, some will be slightly harder to please and a few will be downright obstinate and critical. However, a paying customer is a paying customer regardless of the challenge they present, and customers equal revenue.
Providing customer service excellence and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with customers are essential for profitable business, and business skills training specialists Maguire Training offer business leaders, managers and salespeople a range of invaluable courses which cover these topics in depth. Managing Customer Relationships, for example, equips delegates with the knowledge and strategies required to understand and maintain customer loyalty, manage expectations and deal with customer complaints proactively and effectively.
Difficult customers can be a drain on resources and morale unless handled effectively. Here, Maguire Training offers six strategies that will help you to keep calm and carry on when dealing with difficult customers.
- Acknowledge the customer's situation and steer toward a resolution
The most practical course of dealing with an unhappy customer is to confirm that you understand their position and propose a mutually suitable solution at the earliest opportunity. Either firmly agreeing or disagreeing with the customer?s assertions is risky and may make a bad situation worse: it?s better to steer the conversation towards resolving the issue at hand.
- Mirror the customer's language and behaviour
Subtle 'mirroring' is an extremely powerful way of suggesting to a customer that you are like-minded, understand their situation and share their point of view without you having to explicitly say these things. Phrasing sentences and using turns of speech in the same way as the customer and copying their body language ? seemingly subconsciously ? can reassure a difficult customer that you're 'on their side'.
- Note down, point-by-point, the details of a customer complaint
Taking notes when dealing with difficult customers is a useful for a number of reasons. Firstly it demonstrates to the customer that you are taking their complaint seriously. Secondly it helps to filter out irrelevant 'rant', focusing only on the aspects of the complaint that need to be dealt with, and thirdly it can short-circuit a customer who is intent on covering the same ground repeatedly: 'as you can see, I've already noted that, so let's move on'.
- Get to the specifics of a complaint
When a difficult customer complains, for example, 'you're always late' or 'your product is useless' it's vital to get them to provide details of the specific issues they've encountered so that you can offer a concrete solution. In order to diffuse the situation it's necessary to acknowledge the issue, apologise if warranted, propose the solution and ensure 100% that you deliver what you have promised.
- Sidestep personality clashes
With the best will in the world, some people simply don't, and never will, get along together. Personality clashes between company representatives and their customers are bad for business and should be avoided, or resolved at the earliest opportunity by appointing an alternative customer advisor or account manager.
- If every other option has failed, let the customer go
When the cost in time, money and resources outweighs the benefits gained from trying to please a difficult customer it?s time to bite the bullet and allow them to move on to, and potentially irritate, one of your competitors.
Maguire Training can help you to maximise the potential of every existing customer and help your business to find new customers, courtesy of their outstanding range of management training courses. For the convenience of delegates, every course, including Managing Customer Relationships is available either as an on-site session or as online training, delivered via Maguire Training's innovative and easy to use E-learning platform.