10 Ways to Handle Difficult Customers

Sometimes you’ll need to defuse tense situations with customers. Here are some methods and resources that can help you do it and train your team to provide the best service

  • Customers are more inclined to make repeat purchases from businesses that provide exceptional customer service—93% more probable.
  • You and your staff need to be able to deal with challenging consumers successfully since it is unavoidable.
  • Enroll your team in online training and role-playing exercises to improve their dispute resolution skills.
  • This article is for customer service representatives and company owners who wish to teach their team how to handle disgruntled clients more skillfully.

One of the simplest and most efficient methods to increase sales and business growth is to offer superior customer service, but doing so isn’t always simple. In order to meet their demands, difficult clients face certain customer service issues that need for specialized training and methods. The ideal technique for you and your staff to handle a hard client will depend on the circumstance, therefore you should be knowledgeable about a variety of challenging customer circumstances. There are several training tools available if any of your customer care team members need to refresh their knowledge in order to continue serving consumers efficiently.

The importance of customer satisfaction

The success of your business is directly related to how well you can build and maintain relationships with your clients. Over 700 consumers participated in a customer satisfaction survey, and 80% of them said that poor customer service would make them transfer to a rival.

The consumer may not always be simple to deal with, even if “the customer is always right.” Any business owner, particularly those in the customer service sector, should become adept at handling challenging clients. Even companies offering the greatest goods and services must occasionally deal with irate clients.

It’s critical to have adequately trained personnel that can deal with challenging individuals and address customer complaints if you want to have a great reputation with customers. According to Kim Angeli, founder and CEO of Thankful Box, the first step in making a dissatisfied client grateful is to thank them for sharing their negative experience with you.

With a dissatisfied client, “our natural instinct is to get defensive and fall into a negative attitude,” said Angela. “The response is unusual for them once you turn the switch and begin saying ‘thank you.’ This is effective in many industries, and the results are fantastic once the leadership, sales teams, and customer service teams learn it.

But managing a challenging client doesn’t end there. The approaches and strategies that your team may learn to improve the standard of customer service when interacting with various problematic clients are covered in the next section.

The impatient customer

The situation:

An irritable customer may have been in line longer than normal, be running late for their next appointment, or be restless as you try to address their problem or worry.

How to handle it:

Be succinct and direct without sounding disrespectful of their behaviour. Clearly state the cause of any lag or delay without going into detail. Make sure a hurried consumer is aware that an effort is being made to resolve the issue.

Present your responses in a favorable light. As opposed to stating that an item is out of stock, you may instead mention that a fresh delivery is anticipated by a specific date or that you are working fast to resupply the impacted goods.

The indecisive customer

The situation:

A picky consumer has trouble deciding between a variety of goods or services, yet they might not express this difficulty to you.

How to handle it:

Ask detailed questions about some of the most prevalent deciding variables, such as pricing, service levels, and features. Point them to any written materials you have that might aid in their decision-making as well. Most essential, carefully consider what they have to say.

The angry customer

The situation:

Attempts to resolve the issue are not working and can even be making things worse. An angry client is just dissatisfied with the outcome, regardless of the problem or the remedy.

How to handle it:

Even if you don’t think it’s necessary, start the conversation by apologizing for the problem. By addressing specific complaints, they may have regarding the issue at hand, try to settle the situation. Keep in mind that if you linger too long, there will be more chances for complaints to be made and you will have less time to spend with your other clients.

The demanding customer

The situation:

e of other clients. They could be adamant about the solution or product they seek and unwilling to consider alternatives, even if they better suit their requirements.

How to handle it:

Be patient and speak gently. Pay attention to their worries and act quickly to resolve them. Be open-minded. Giving responses to other customers’ questions in an attempt to buy time or delay their demands may not go down well.

The vague customer

The situation:

This client walks into your store unsure of what they require. They can have trouble expressing the issue or they might not fully comprehend all of their alternatives. The answers don’t always help, and they could even make things more confusing as you probe for the root of the problem.

How to handle it:

Ask the ambiguous consumer precise and explicit questions about their wants, just like you would the indecisive customer. This will probably provide you the knowledge you need to help them the most effectively. In order to avoid keeping other clients waiting longer than necessary, each inquiry you ask should be intended to elucidate the issue.

The customer who demands a refund

The scenario:

This kind of consumer is so dissatisfied with the good or service that they ask for a refund.

How to handle it:

Every business has its own refund policy and rules that specify which things may be returned. The ideal course of action is to issue a full or partial refund, but your business could choose to grant a credit for a future purchase. Clearly state when the refund was completed and how long they may anticipate it to take if you do decide to provide one.

The unhappy customer

The problem: Despite your best efforts to fix the problem, the client is still not happy with the solution(s) provided.

How to handle it:

A furious consumer and a dissatisfied customer both need a solution. Even if you don’t think one is necessary, start with offering an apology. Take a quick inventory of the options provided before attempting to make a different suggestion; for more information on what is permissible in this circumstance, check your company’s regulations. Don’t ignore their complaints or concerns during the dialogue; instead, pay close attention and with sympathy.

10 strategies for dealing with difficult customers

Mike Effie, former CEO of Vendio, knows a thing or two about great customer service. He offers 10 tips on how to turn a bad customer service situation into an opportunity to improve your business.

1.First and foremost, listen.

Do not try to quarrel with or talk over the customer. Allow the customer to speak, even if you are aware that they are misinformed and lack all the facts, even if you know what they will say next. Take advantage of the chance to establish a connection with the consumer while you listen.

2. Build rapport through empathy.

Consider yourself the customer. Reiterate the reason they are frustrated and demonstrate your understanding of their circumstance. It will assist to calm a customer down if you can relate to their issue.

3. Lower your voice.

If the client speaks loudly, speak slowly and softly. They may become more at ease as a result of your calm approach. The customer’s wrath will typically subside if you handle the problem with a cool, collected mindset, unmoved by their tone or volume.

4. Respond as if all your customers are watching.

Act as though there is a crowd observing the encounter in addition to the consumer while you speak. This change in perspective can help you reply more intelligently and also act as an emotional barrier if the client is verbally abusive. This approach can help you try your best to allay their fears in a calm manner because an upset customer might be a bad recommendation who will repeat the talk to other potential consumers.

5. Know when to give in.

It might be preferable to take the high road and make concessions in their favour if it is clear that appeasing an unpleasant client will take two hours and a bottle of aspirin and still result in poor recommendations. You’ll have more time as a result to cultivate other, more beneficial consumer connections. Remember that the exchange is unusual and that you are working with an exception.

6. Stay calm.

Take a deep breath and go on as if you weren’t aware of the customer’s profanity or verbal abuse. Giving a reciprocal response will not help the problem and will likely make it worse. Instead, reassure the client that you are there to assist them and are their best immediate option for finding a solution. This straightforward remark frequently diffuses tense situations.

7. Don’t take it personally.

Even if the consumer does, stay on topic and avoid personalizing the conversation. Keep in mind that the consumer is only venting their aggravation at you as a representative of your business; they don’t know you personally. Redirect the conversation back to the problem and your plan for solving it.

8. Remember that you’re interacting with a human.

Everybody occasionally has a rough day. It’s possible that your unpleasant customer was upset with their spouse, received a traffic ticket that day, or has just experienced terrible luck. To a certain extent, we’ve all been there. Try to sympathies with them and be a kind, calming voice to brighten their day. You’ll feel good about it as well.

9. If you promise a callback, call back!

Call the client at the appointed time even if you didn’t have the update you promised. The consumer will appreciate the follow-up and feel confident that you are not attempting to avoid them.

10. Summarize the next steps.

Tell the client exactly what to expect at the end of the conversation, and then make sure to keep your word. To make sure you’re ready for the next contact, make a note of the call.

Training courses and workshops for managing demanding customers

For teams to be successful, it is critical that organization provide the appropriate conflict management training and strategies. Enrolling your staff in customer service seminars can help you train your sales, customer service, and leadership teams.

Online and offline, there are many excellent training resources accessible. We talked to professionals to prepare a concise selection of excellent training programmes to assist you in finding the tools you need to create a supportive team.

  • On a range of business-related subjects, Peter Barron Stark Companies offers training and coaching. The business provides a training that concentrates primarily on dealing with challenging clients. You will learn how to manage disputes and diffuse challenging client situations in this training.
  • Teams may benefit from the extensive library of training courses offered by Business Training Works, which can assist with developing their leadership abilities and other talents. A half- or full-day training session on customer service and a full-day course on customer relationship management might be helpful for teams that wish to understand how to deal with angry clients and manage service stress.
  • In addition to lectures, Pryor+ provides digital downloads, online training, group training, and more. Businesses that seek to restore customer loyalty and convert disgruntled clients into valuable allies should enroll in Pryor+ training sessions.
  • An international provider of customer service training, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training includes e-learning, DVD instruction, keynote speeches, seminars, and more. Your team members can enroll in classes to sharpen their customer service and dispute resolution skills.

Activities for handling difficult customer conversations

It takes time and repetition to hone your dispute resolution and customer service abilities. You might construct periodic in-house activities to maintain your team’s abilities after enrolling them in seminars and training sessions.

The customer service training activity that was most commonly suggested by professionals when we asked them how to handle challenging consumers was role-playing. Although each customer may result in a different dispute and encounter, it is crucial to provide your staff as much training as you can.

In a group setting, Sarah Bugeja, senior director of demand generation and marketing operations at Wave HQ, suggests role-playing case studies with one employee playing a client and the other a support agent. They may simulate how each side could respond to the given situation by acting it out, and after the conflict is over, they trade roles. They will be better able to comprehend all relevant factors as a result.

When a genuine situation develops, your personnel will be better able to understand a dissatisfied client if they can see things from the consumer’s point of view.

The plain truth is that dealing with unpleasant clients is a necessary aspect of running a business. However, Bugeja advises viewing this as a benefit. You have the chance to win over someone whose trust you didn’t already have since these clients are coming to you searching for solutions, even though they might not always do so in the politest manner.

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