No business can completely avoid customer complaints. Customer complaints are inevitable no matter how dedicated the customer satisfaction in a business maybe, and he always face criticism. Whether a complaint is specified or not dealing with a difficult customer is rarely easy, and never fun at all. If you work in a person requiring interaction with customers it is important that you be prepared for potential complaints. Here's practical rules for dealing with difficult customers.
1) Just Listen:
It is extremely important to just listen to what the customer has to say first. Arguing or cutting them off will only add fuel to the fire, so avoid speaking out of turn. Ask them, politely, if they are done saying what they have to say before you speak. That way, you ensure that the customer has fully let it all out and you have given them time to vent and settle down.
2) Don’t get emotional
No one likes to be attacked or criticized by customer is, if the complaint is unfair. Have patience. Letting down your emotions is the last thing of you what you should do. Be professional and polite to customers which is always required even if they don’t act the same way. Things could turn ugly if you fail to put your emotions to the side.
3) Consider their affect heuristic
The affect heuristic is a mental shortcut. It helps you make quick, efficient decisions based on how you feel toward the person, place, or situation you’re considering. Simply put, it’s the fact that we all made decisions and judgments based on our worldviews and experiences. It’s our bias.
In these situations, objective facts carry little weight for us. Instead, we run the decision or situation through our internal “software” and develop our own opinions based on what we already know.
Ask questions to understand the root cause of their apprehension. The questions below can help your customer relax, and yield insights into why they’re unwilling to move forward:
- “I’d like to understand. Tell me more about why you’re skeptical.”
- “What can I do to relieve your fears?”
- “How can I help you feel comfortable enough to move forward?”
4) Make up your mind: Once you are aware with the truth that your customer is angry, then your top most priority is to make up your mind. To put it simply, put yourself into a customer service mindset and keep yourself aside from any disrespectful or miffed feelings. It is because the situation isn’t your fault, or that your client has commit a mistake, or that he/she is blaming you. What matters the most is that your client or customer is unhappy. Adjust your mind accordingly and give your best to focus on customer’s problem.
No matter what went wrong, an apology is always the first step to make any recompense. Apologizing tells a customer that you are taking them seriously, and you truly acknowledge the complaint. Orphan simple apology is all and unhappy customer really wants. Customer is actually being unreasonable, your apology is almost always the best policy.
6) Ask questions
You will probably need to ask a few questions to clarify certain things. If the customers in emotional state just be careful to word the questions so that the customer seems to understand that you are seeking more information, and not attacking them are questioning their account. Try to use the questions to show your concern, as well and what you can do to make things better.
7) Refer to Policies:
It’s always best to explain what you can or can’t do because it’s part of a contract you signed. This gives validity to your argument and supports your position. The customer should understand that you are just doing your job the best you can.
8) Try to fix the problem: It is incumbent on you to do all you can to resolve the customers complaint as quickly as possible.For example if the customer received a defective product replace it with one that works. What’s even better is going above and beyond simply solving the problem. Example, offer the customer a good discount on the next order. If the customer’s issue cannot be rectified, apologize profusely and promise to do better service next time.
9) Hand them Over:
If you simply can’t deal with the customer anymore, don’t be afraid to hand him over to the next person. Usually this is going to be your manager or a colleague with more experience.
Finally, avoid taking these exchanges personally. Usually, such exchanges are a result of frustration built up against the company or a company policy they don’t particularly appreciate. You become the unfortunate target since you are a representative of the company. So, instead of taking it to heart, approach the problem in a tactful manner and guide the conversation back to the real root of the problem and how it can be constructively solved.
10) Don’t take it personally
Customer service professionals know that some customers will be difficult no matter what. So don’t take it personally. Remember that helping customers is your job. Make sure your attitude is always, “I’m here to help as best I can.”
Conflict is a part of business. How you react under fire impacts the future of your customer relationships.
The adage, “The customer is always right” still rings true. You have far more to lose by taking the low road and stooping to a customer’s level of hostility.
Treating someone with disdain or disrespect can reflect negatively on you and your company, so reputation management should always be top of mind.
Remember, people will often mirror the emotional signals you emit. If you respond with hostility and anger, don’t expect friendliness and understanding in return.
Emotional intelligence can be used to calm the storm, so use these tips for navigating your next conflict:
- Maintain a calm and professional tone while also remaining assertive.
- Refrain from name calling or finger pointing.
- Never say or write anything that can be used against you.
- Always resolve disputes in person or over the phone. Email is not an effective tool for hashing out disagreements.