Posted by Maya Pillai

All businesses have to deal with disgruntled customers at some point of time. Some customers may have genuine grievances while some may not. In either case, one must learn to handle the customer as well as the situation properly. We take a look at different strategies and techniques to handle difficult customers.

  • Be specific – When the customer is making general complaint, ask the customer to be specific. Then provide specific and measurable solutions for his problem. It is a good idea to give a time frame in which the issue will be resolved.

  • Agreeing with the customer doesn’t always help – In certain cases, agreeing about a problem with an unhappy client makes the problem worse. A better approach would be to acknowledge his position and shift the discussed topic to how a timely resolution of the customer’s complaint could be achieved.

  • It is very important to listen – Being a good listener is necessary to defuse difficult situations. Even if the customer is wrong or you know what he is going to say, it is best to patiently hear him out. Building rapport with the client is a good technique to win him over. Also, the act of listening demonstrates that you genuinely care about the customer and his feelings. Sometimes the opportunity to vent out his unhappiness and anger does calm the irritated customer down.

  • Sometimes a change of person helps – You may realize that you are not able to do much in some situations. In that case, ask the client who they prefer to handle their case. It is better that they communicate with someone they are more comfortable with.

  • Empathize with the customer – When you put yourself in the customer’s shoes, you will be able to better understand their grievance. Customers will feel better understood and respected when you can relate to them. All customers like to feel assured that the company finds them important.

  • React Calmly – Even if the customer is loud, you should speak in a slow and low tone. This definitely has a calming effect on customers. Keeping cool will help you objectively handle the situation. Remember that getting angry or upset at the customer’s behavior doesn’t help.

  • Remember not to take criticism personally – You need to be professional and realize the client has a grievance with the company’s services and not you as an individual. Even if some customers get personal, you shouldn’t. You need to move the conversation back to the core issue tactfully.

  • Remember customers are human beings – There may be other reasons, including personal ones, for the client to snap at you. A professional and courteous response would make them feel better and amenable to your position.

  • Move on – Sometimes when all attempts have failed to resolve the problem and the effort is not worth the trouble, it is wise to move on. This way you can give your attention to more productive clients.

By better handling difficult customers you can ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty. Make your customers feel valued and they will truly value your organization.

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