How to Manage Difficult CustomersThe best ways to avoid trouble when dissatisfaction strikes

There’s no doubt that providing great customer service is an essential component of your business.

After all, seven in ten consumers say that they would spend more with a company that delivers great customer service

Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that you will come across all kinds of difficult customers while running your business. 

It may seem impossible to manage these kinds of customers and still deliver outstanding customer service, but this is what we’re going to help you with in this article. 

We’re going to explore five strategies that you can use yourself or pass on to your employees to manage difficult customers effectively. Used correctly, your business should be able to avoid the dreaded 1 star review! 

Listen to the customer

Don’t try to talk over a difficult customer, or try to argue with them. Think back to a time when you have been frustrated with a service or product and try to have empathy for what the customer is going through. 

Try to think about how you would like to be treated when venting your frustrations about something. 

Even if you think you know what the customer is going to say or you know that they are mistaken, the customer will appreciate the fact that you are letting them have their say.

It may calm the customer down after they’ve vented their frustration and you may be able to understand their problem better. This will allow you to manage the situation more effectively and you may be able to come to a resolution much quicker. 

Also, make sure that you ask all the necessary questions to be able to deal with the problem as quickly as possible.

Respond to the difficult customer like all customers are watching

Imagine that you are talking to the customer with an audience. Doing this will change your perspective to be more mindful that the conversation you are having could spread by word of mouth and harm your reputation. 

It’s also good practice to assume that the difficult customer will pass on the details of this conversation. Bearing this in mind will allow you to think more clearly and manage the situation much better. 

You want to make sure that you are as calm as possible with difficult customers so that negative feedback will not find its way back to you. 

Don’t take it personally

Always make sure that you are discussing the issue at hand. It’s easy for things to escalate and get side-tracked once things start to get heated. It’s crucial to remember that the customer is not angry with you personally (although it may seem that way). 

They are simply venting their frustrations towards you, and it’s your job to manage the interaction and focus on getting to a resolution.

If you find it difficult to stay calm in such situations, try taking deep breaths, counting to ten in your head, and saying everything in your head first before expressing it verbally. The customer will only become more difficult to manage if you anger them further!

Speak softly and keep a low voice

Even if the customer gets louder, it’s important that you make an effort to speak softly and maintain a low voice. Your calming energy may well find its way over to the customer and make the interaction easier for you to manage. 

Similarly, make sure that you are avoiding using negative language or body language. Again, it may be difficult to not mirror the demeanour of the customer. 

But people are receptive and they will react and respond to your energy. And if you are getting worked up, this will only fuel their frustrations.

Leave the customer with a clear understanding of the next steps

At the end of the interaction, make sure that you communicate the next steps clearly. And be sure that you are able to do what you promise and make sure that you follow up to ensure that you are well-prepared for the next interaction. 

Take notes and ask the customer if you have resolved their issue and if they need help with anything else. You want to make sure that the interaction ends on a better note than what it started on! 

Finally, send a response to the customer via email to ensure you have the details in writing. 

A common theme throughout each of these strategies is remaining calm. Most difficult customers will react positively to someone who manages to keep their cool and deal with the issue at hand in a professional way. 

Moreover, effective communication is key when managing difficult customers—ensure that you completely understand the issue at hand and make sure that the customer is clear on the steps that are being taken to deal with their issue. 

We hope that you and your team find these strategies useful, although, we do hope that you won’t have to apply them too often!

Start scheduling your staff online.

No credit card required, nothing to download, no mailing lists and no surprises.