Handling Difficult Customers

Difficult customer are the nightmare of all business professionals, but they do not have to be. You have heard the saying, Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, by Sun-tzu, the Chinese general & military strategist. This is true of difficult customers as well as enemies. If you can get them to draw close to you and keep them close, then you will have defused a dangerous bomb for your e-commerce. Here are some other ways of handling difficult customers.

Do not yield to arguing with a customer. The moment you lose control, this is the moment they become an unrecoverable ex-customer of yours. Never ever display that you are displeased with them and by no means should you ever display contempt for your customers. They are your business, after all.

Do not be in such a rush to run off when a customer needs to talk with you. There is nothing more important than a customer, unless it is another customer you have a scheduled appointment with. However, you must never lie about having another appointment to run off to. Customer can smell when this lie is thrown in their face.

Most difficult customers are difficult for a real reason. If you would but take the time to listen and to ask intelligent questions you might get to the heart of the matter and win their hearts over.

Try to use neutral language without belittling the customer. Many trained staff at large corporations learn a language that demeans the customer, rather than one that remains truly neutral. Language that avoids answering questions or avoids committing to an interpretation of a situation is not neutral. This often comes across as belittling.

Rephrase what you have heard the customer explaining to you and ask if you have understood them correctly. This always wins points with the customer, unless you really were not listening very closely. The point is that you must thoroughly understand what the customer is trying to explain to your before you should attempt any solution to their problem. You will end up with egg on your face if you try to solve their problem only to have them indicate that you did not understand them when they explained the problem to you. You will have wasted time and money as well, while further frustrating the customer.

Do not ever put a customer on hold without explaining what you are doing while they are waiting and giving them a realistic expectation of how long they will be on hold. It is a mistake to tell them that you need your supervisor’s approval. It places them in the situation of having to jump through hoops to get what they want. No customer wants to feel like they have to perform animal tricks for anyone in order to get what they want. This is another way to demean the customer.

Your body language, when dealing with a customer face to face, must be strictly controlled to communicate a neutral tone. Do not fold your arms. Sit up or stand up straight. Do not lean your arm on anything. Do not put your head in your hands. Never touch your face. Do not twitch or shift your weight back and forth from one foot to the other. These are all negative language that tells the customer that they are not important and that they might even be in your way.

None of us like dealing with difficult customers, but if you practice, you will see little difference from normal customers. You will gain the customer’s confidence with great success.

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