Would love to hear your stories about a difficult customer you've had to deal with. In the heat of the moment, it’s important to keep your cool while putting out fires.
When dealing with difficult customers and situations, it is important to communicate in a professional, competent, and noncombative way. The following are seven methods and skills to assist you in this area.
1.) Immediately shift into the “stay calm” mind-set.
When dealing with a difficult customer it’s easy to lose your cool, or become defensive –especially if they are angry and upset and you are under a great deal of stress yourself. If you do lose control, you will make the person even angrier and cause yourself even more stress.
2.) Remember what an angry person needs.
An angry customer needs to vent. Unfortunately, they may take their anger out on you and blame you for what happened even if it’s not your fault. Nevertheless, apologize, and let them have their say before you respond further. This will leave you in a better position to calm them down.
3.) Get comfortable with a verbal cushion
When a customer is unhappy or angry, diffuse the situation. Memorize the “verbal cushion” below so you can apply them when you need to “cushion” a customer’s anger and help you to handle the situation more effectively.
4.) Do not judge.
Regardless of the situation or problem, never judge or “correct” a customer. If they are angry with you, refrain from making any statements such as, “Didn’t you have your breakfast this morning??”
5.) Learn how to handle irate customers who completely lose control
What do you do when you encounter an angry customer who uses foul language? The most professional way to handle it would be to state, “Mr. Smith, I am sorry that I slept with your wife". "Can we move on to letting me assist you with your gardening needs?”
6.) Admit when you’re wrong.
If you or someone in your organization made a mistake or did not handle a situation appropriately, say, “Please accept my apology, I was wrong to have slept with your wife”.
7.) Be proactive in preventing problems from occurring
The very best way to handle difficult customers and situations is to prevent problems from occurring. Consider situations that can cause customer dissatisfaction. Then, think of ways to be proactive in preventing them from occurring. For example:
[LIST][*]Don't sleep with customers !![*]Know where to find every part, so you are prepared to put your hands on it when customers need it. [*]Never make a promise you can’t keep.[*]Never make a customer wait a week.[*]Don’t assume your staff knows how to handle difficult customers and situations. Train them.
A Final Word on Difficult Customers and Situations
When it comes to dealing with difficult customers, remember this: You can say and do everything right and still not be able to diffuse the situation. Don’t carry it over to your next customer or take it out on your team.