This article by Indeed.com is a must-read for every business owner.
When you are interacting with customers, it is essential to have excellent customer service skills. This is especially important when dealing with challenging customers. Fortunately, there are certain tips you can keep in mind when dealing with difficult customers that will help you cope with the situation in a professional manner.
In this article, we describe the different types of difficult customers you may encounter and how you can effectively handle a difficult customer.
Why is it important to effectively deal with difficult customers?
It’s important to effectively deal with difficult customers because proper customer service can help you retain customers. It’s a great way of turning a negative situation into a positive one and can encourage the customer to become an advocate of your brand or product because of how well you handled their situation and frustrations. Difficult customers may walk away feeling more impressed after your interaction, as opposed to an ordinary customer who may not have had as much interaction with you.
Types of difficult customers you may encounter
The following are some difficult customers that you may encounter:
Angry customers can be especially challenging. A good first step is to apologize, even if you don’t feel like you have done something wrong. This simple action can help to calm them down so that you can move on to a more productive conversation.
An angry customer may raise their voice, but you should keep your voice at a normal level. You may even want to soften your voice. The most important part of handling an angry customer is to remain calm and never reciprocate their anger.
Here are examples of what you could say to an angry customer:
- “I really want to help. Thank you for bearing with me as I troubleshoot this for you.”
- “I apologize that you received the wrong product, and I understand how inconvenient and frustrating that can be. Please know that we are working on sending a replacement overnight.”
Indecisive customers can take a long time to make decisions and may ask many questions. One way you can help them is by determining their specific concerns regarding the purchase. You can reassure them by speaking confidently about the product or service and sharing as much useful information with them as you can. Indecisive customers will help you to practice patience.
Here are a few ways you can handle an indecisive customer:
- Ask them specific questions to help identify their concerns.
- Offer suggestions and explain where, how and why they can use the product or service so that the customer has a chance to imagine themselves benefitting from the product or service.
Demanding customers may have a misunderstanding of how you are able to help them. A demanding customer may ask you to do something that you are not authorized or otherwise able to do for them. With this type of customer, you can assure them that you will do whatever you possibly can to meet their needs. And be prepared to compromise if they are asking for too much.
Here are examples of what you could say to a demanding customer:
- “I’m sorry to say that I cannot refund you $100 in cash, but I can refund you $50 in cash and issue you $50 in store credit. Would that work?”
- “Unfortunately, I’m unable to fulfill this request, but let me bring in my manager who may be able to help more.”
A critical customer may find fault in your services, products or something else regarding your business. They may be quick to point out their dissatisfaction. To manage this customer, listen to them patiently and understand their point of view. Sometimes, these customers offer great feedback through their honesty.
Here are examples of what you could say to a critical customer:
- “Honestly, that is such a great suggestion, thank you! I’m going to submit that to our engineering department so they can consider it.”
- “I understand that this product line may not be for everyone, and I appreciate your honesty.”