Share this content

5 Steps To Dealing With Problem Customers

16th Sep 2017
Share this content

If you’ve ever had to deal with customers, you’ve had to deal with problem customers. They’re a dime a dozen, and it seems they’re always lurking around the corner, ready to ruin your day with unjust accusations and outrageous demands. Luckily, difficult customers can be dealt with - it just requires patience, empathy and a professional attitude. Next time an outraged shopper turns the corner and starts shouting at you, keep these five steps to deal with problem customers in mind.

1. Contain your own emotions

Your instinct when someone starts shouting at you, of course, is to defend yourself. Don’t. It may be difficult to reign in your instinct to fight back, but in the world of business a difficult customer is just a few steps away from a loyal customer, and the first step to retaining them is not alienating them with an argument. You should be paying attention to what they say so don’t blank out, but do pull back from the scene emotionally. Remember, it’s not personal.

2. Let them vent

If a customer is irate, the best thing to do is let them vent to you. This can go on for several minutes, especially if you allow them to call you on an 0117 number. But giving them the space to lay out their complaints reduces their hostility and immediately gives them a sense of satisfaction. Allowing them to vent makes them feel that the company - you - is receptive to their complaints, which is an excellent start for most angry customers.

3. Apologize to soothe the situation

Regardless of what they’ve said and whether it’s the company’s fault or the customer’s, the next thing to do once your customer finishes venting is apologize for the difficulty they’re having. Even if it’s in every way a self-made problem, your role should be to keep them happy, and that means taking blame. Apologize for the miscommunication, for the lack of clarification and explanation, for the difficult time they’ve experienced with your business. Don’t try to explain how it wasn’t the company’s fault, and don’t insinuate that it’s the customer’s fault. Just apologize.

4. Address the problem immediately

Immediately after apologizing, take concrete steps to address the customer’s complaint. Most businesses give employees some leeway on actions they can take in the case of an irate customer and if so, take that leeway. Give them the discount that doesn’t apply, throw in a bonus service for free, replace an item they want replaced. The best solutions make the customers feel like they got what they want, and encourage them to shop at your business again.

5. Follow up with the customer

After you’ve addressed the customer’s complaint, be sure to follow up, whether it’s at the end of the transaction or in a follow-up survey. Ask them if everything was addressed to their satisfaction, if there’s anything you can do differently in the future, and what they need from your business to be happy. If you’ve met their needs, they’ll be pleased to see you’re following up and taking an interest in their satisfaction. If not, you’ll have an opportunity to rectify it one more time.

Problem customers can easily become loyal customers. It just requires patience, humility and the ability to follow the old adage, ‘the customer is always right.’

Replies (0)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

There are currently no replies, be the first to post a reply.