It happens in all businesses: sometimes you have a client who is a little more finicky than others.
And without a doubt, an unhappy customer will likely tell their friends about their negative experience. Rather than letting a difficult customer catch you off guard, it’s crucial that you are prepared to deal with all types of customers – from the easy-going to the hard-to-handle.
Let’s look at some ways to help you prepare for a difficult situation:
BE PATIENT AND STAY POLITE
There's a reason patience is a virtue! Practicing patience when a customer is venting their frustration is key to keeping the situation under control. Let your customer finish what they have to say – cutting them off will only prolong their aggravation. So, don’t interrupt them, and you’ll be able to see the whole picture.
On another note, staying polite is a very effective way to keep a lid on the situation. Try to avoid negative words and don't raise your voice. It would only do more harm than good. Keep your cool and remain courteous.
LISTEN CAREFULLY AND REPEAT THEIR CONCERNS
Communication is a two-way street. Without the ability to listen, it won’t really matter what you have to say. In order to assess a situation fully and respond positively, you’ll need to take the time to truly listen to your customer. Repeat their concerns back to them in order to let them know that you heard them clearly. Understanding where their feelings are coming from is half the battle in solving their problem.
KEEP YOUR PROMISES
Did you tell your customers you’d shoot them an e-mail or give them a ring later regarding their situation? Do it! Instilling trust and keeping your word will greatly improve their experience with you. Don’t avoid a negative situation – ignoring it will only make it worse.
OFFER DIFFERENT SOLUTIONS
Being able to offer alternatives will help diffuse a customer's bad experience and boost their satisfaction. If a client sees that you’re not just brushing them off and that you’re going out of your way to come up with another solution, they’ll be much happier.
DON’T ANSWER ANGRY E-MAILS RIGHT AWAY
Take the time to cool down if you’ve received a negative e-mail. Immediately responding typically leads to saying things you might not normally say – or ever say – and you could regret it! Before you answer, take a step back. Assess the situation, calm down and think before you reply.
APOLOGIZE IF NEEDED
Did you make a mistake? It happens to the best of us. To help build a stronger relationship with your customers, apologize for your error. It will promote forgiveness and clear the air. And creating a positive experience is the ultimate goal.
Remember, your clients keep your business going. Unhappy customers are just a part of life – but delivering exemplary customer service takes practice and patience.