How to Handle Difficult Customers: A Helpful Guide

How to Handle Difficult Customers: A Helpful Guide. Photo by Clem Onojeghuo from Pexels

Dealing with difficult customers is a part of doing business that many companies dread.

The good news is that if you know how to handle difficult customers, you can maintain your good reputation and can even retain those difficult customers for life.

Read on to learn how you can handle customers who are tough to deal with for a smooth, stress-free experience.

Be a Good Listener

Many times, customers seem difficult because they feel as if they’re not being heard. You can calm angry customers down by simply being a good listener and allowing them to vent.

Let the customer express their anger or distaste for their experience without talking over them or interrupting. Sometimes, people simply want to vent their frustrations and make sure that they’re being listened to.

When you sit back and listen, you might even benefit, too. An angry tirade can give you some insight into areas where your business could improve that you might not even be aware of.

Remember to let the customer speak, and just simply sit back and listen until they’re done explaining how they feel and why they feel that way. Don’t interject, but do let them know that you hear and understand their concerns.

Apologize to the customer and let them know this is not the experience you want them to have when dealing with your business. If you can’t get them to calm down, you may need to take the situation up the chain of command.

How to Handle Difficult Customers by Staying Calm

When someone is angry or yelling, it can be tough for you to stay calm and zen. Do your best to try and remain collected as you deal with a difficult customer.

You don’t have to be apathetic, but you shouldn’t respond by yelling back at the customer or by making sarcastic comments. Instead, simply take deep breaths and try to remember that most of the time, the anger isn’t personally directed toward you.

When you remain calm, the customer will probably calm down as well. Remember that this is just business and that the customer’s ire is not meant to be pointed directly at you on a personal level.

A calm reaction can diffuse almost any situation rather than escalate it and make it worse. Try to stay cool and level-headed so that you can asses the problem more accurately and then take steps to correct it.

Be Empathetic and Understanding

If you really need to know how to handle difficult customers, the best way is through empathy and understanding. It’s likely that you have also been an unhappy customer at one time, so try to put yourself in the customer’s shoes.

You don’t have to cave into difficult customers, but you can still be an active listener and let them know that you sympathize with their plight. An empathetic ear and attitude can usually calm people down fast.

Let your customers know that you completely understand where they’re coming from, and that you’re going to do everything within your power to make things right. You don’t have to cave to their every demand, but you can still inform them that there will be steps taken to ensure their happiness.

Remember that no matter how angry a customer gets, you are still dealing with a human being. They could simply be having a bad day or they just happened to get you on the phone when they were upset.

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and try to see things from their point of view. This tactic will make the entire process of resolving the problem much easier for everyone involved.

Create a Good Rapport With Your Customers

One way to minimize the number of angry or difficult customers you have is by creating a positive relationship from the start. This can be achieved by several means including social media, email newsletters, and good customer management.

Consider using a good CCM or customer management system that allows you to keep all of your communication with customers in one place. You can learn more about CCM to see if it works for your company’s needs.

Another method to diffuse angry customers is to create a positive company culture. This will foster a positive attitude right away, even when people aren’t happy about their most recent experience.

Use your social media accounts to communicate with customers in a fast, efficient manner. The key is to be easily accessible for them whenever they need to contact you about an issue. Respond to customer concerns quickly to keep people happy and instill confidence.

When you establish a good rapport with your customers, you will have a higher retention rate. It also lessens the odds of angry interactions since they view your business as a friend and not just a place to purchase goods or services.

Infographic created by Clover Network, a retail POS system company

Make a Difficult Situation Easier

Even though it can be tough, knowing how to handle difficult customers can mean the difference between a tough experience and a positive one. When you establish a good relationship and address concerns, most customers will calm down and walk away happy.

Do your best to listen to the customer and avoid talking over them when they are angry. Remain empathetic and understanding, and then come up with ways you can resolve the issue in an amicable way.

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