No matter how amazing your business is, at some point, you will encounter a difficult customer. When you do, here are a few ways to diffuse a tough situation.
8 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Customers
- Check your own emotions. An emotional answer or even emotionally-charged body language can add accelerant to an already hot situation. Take a moment to calm down. This is not a personal attack.
- Speak in a soothing voice. It’s difficult (and a little eerie) to scream at someone who is incredibly calm.
- Listen. Find out the details of the situation before crafting a response. Make sure the customer feels like you are giving them your full attention. try to avoid jumping to conclusions until you have all of the details.
- Show concern for their thoughts, opinion, and feelings.
- Show empathy but not to the point that you blame the company. Don’t say things like “I’m not sure why we have that rule. It seems like a bad one.”
- Don’t ever say, “I’m sorry. I’m new here.” You’re not sorry and being new doesn’t mean you’re inept. If you feel the need to say anything explain you have not encountered this situation but will do A, B, and C and get back to them by X.
- If you don’t know the answer or how to solve the situation, tell them how you plan on finding out. Give them details of when you will be back in touch with them and then follow up.
- Don’t make promises or offer to do something you can’t. It may placate them at the moment but in the long run, the customer will feel mislead.
If your customer is frustrated or upset about something that has happened, remember most issues stem from communication and expectations. During an emotional situation make sure you communicate well and follow through with a resolution.
For the future, look for ways that you can properly set expectations so they don’t become misaligned. There will always be someone who misunderstands something but the better communication you practice, the better off everyone will be.