Last time we looked at:-
1. Salespeople trying to sell you stuff that you did not ask for;
2. Salespeople not listening to what you ask for.
3. Listening to what the customer is saying.
4. Remaining calm and
5. Don’t take it personally.
Today we are going to look at a few more that my research has unearthed.
1. Allow the customer to vent.
Yes, you read that correctly! Interrupting a customer in the middle of what they are trying to tell you what they are irritated or annoyed about is not only very rude, but it also gives the customer the perception that you don’t care about what their needs are or that you don’t understand the point that they are trying to make.
Once they come to the end of their tirade, try and point them to a similar case that you’ve handled (provided of course that you have actually handled one) and how you resolved it.
Even if you understand what the problem is, the reality is that many difficult customers like to vent and it is a good thing to allow them to just do that!
2. Try to agree with the Customer.
Depending on the grievance, there are times that you can defuse the situation by just agreeing with the customer.
Especially if you can understand or relate to the customer’s point of view, agree with them.
If the customer has a point and they are perhaps 100% correct in their perception of the problem, whether it is your fault or not, whether it is under your control or not, just agree with them.
Often just the fact that you are agreeing with them will diffuse and calm the situation.
3. Handle the problem either immediately or as soon as you can.
There are situations where you will not be able to resolve the problem immediately.
For example, you may need to investigate where it went wrong, or contact a colleague or have a discussion with your supervisor to verify facts or get clarity. Perhaps it is beyond your capabilities and you need to escalate it to someone who can perform the task or someone who can make the decision.
Here’s the thing, make sure that whatever you tell the customer that you will do – make sure that you do it and that you communicate with the customer either along the way or once it is done.
Make sure that you follow up until there is a solution or a resolution and update the customer every step of the way. This will create a perception that you value the customer and that you have “heard” and understood the customer and that you are taking steps to ensure that this problem does not reoccur!
You may have lost this particular sale but in all probability, you will have saved the relationship.
Next time I’ll explore some of the other tips on ‘handling difficult customers’, that my research has highlighted.