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This post was last updated 4 weeks ago by Yusuf Odukoya.
If you have a growing list of customers, it is inevitable that you’re going to encounter some clients who are going to be downright difficult.
The saying, “Customers are always right”, just makes the issue of dealing with all kinds of customers even more critical. But how do you deal with them?
Every client is unique; They have their own background and philosophy, so it is very important for you to know what kind of client you are dealing with, and how to deal with them in such a way that would leave a good impression of your brand.
1. Show empathy
Show some empathy. Let the client know that you understand the source of their frustration and you are willing to work on it.
Try to put yourself in their shoes and show them that you understand the whole situation. This is a surefire way to temporarily keep your client calm while you resolve the issue.
Some gestures may help if the communication is taking place physically; For example, nodding your head to show that you agree with their feedback. Always remember that your facial expressions can either make or break your efforts to calm the client.
2. Don’t Talk Back
Some clients may resort to using profane or swear words to show their displeasure. Turn a deaf ear to those negative words as they may negatively impact your motivation to resolve their issue, instead, be focused on resolving their issue.
Talking back is a sure way to escalate the issue into something more serious, and this may attract negative attention from onlookers, which is bad for your business.
Heads up! you shouldn’t just keep mute throughout the whole rant as this may infuriate them more. Ideally, the longer it’s taking to resolve that issue, the more you’ll need to say something to soothe your client.
3. Mind Your Tone
Your tone essentially reflects the attitude or the emotions that are associated with your verbal message. Tone can also incorporate the inflections- such as raising your voice when asking a question, and things like laughter or breath. Generally speaking, when working in Customer Service, your tone must always come across as helpful and welcoming.
Do not allow work-related frustration to lure you into screaming at the client. It may come from a good place, but no client would be willing to take that.
With all that being said, it is crucial to mind your tone in order to avoid irreparable damages to a seemingly fragile relationship.
4. Be Attentive
Those rants (or complaints) can’t be taken lightly, even if you feel they are petty or unreasonable. Each complaint is an opportunity to draw yourself closer to the customer — An opportunity to close a gap, fill a void, or fill a need.
Do not try to talk over the client or argue with them. Let the client have their say, even if you already know what they are going to say next.
As you listen, take the opportunity to build rapport with the client. Maintain eye contact and demonstrate your attentiveness by standing or sitting up straight. Talking to another colleague on something irrelevant to the situation or unnecessary multitasking while a client is ranting would only make you seem inattentive or uninterested.
5. Make an attempt to resolve the problem.
Sometimes, clients erroneously direct their complaints to the wrong department. If that’s the case, instead of bluntly telling them that it’s not your job, collect all the necessary information from them and help log their complaints to the appropriate department.
6. Follow-up and give updates.
If a resolution has been agreed upon, you’ll need to start taking action immediately.
In order to help the client manage their expectations and reduce anxiety, you may need to explain every step that you’re going to take to fix the problem.
Once the situation has been resolved, follow up with your client over the next few days to make sure that they are satisfied. This may be a golden opportunity to request a nice review.
7. Fire the Client
When the worst comes to the worst, you may need to fire a client. The emotional, physical, and mental abuse caused by a bad client is enough to negatively impact the work you do for other clients. If you are a small business owner, you may sever your relationship with the client — but be sure to do it legally, i.e fulfill the contract cancellation clause. Unfortunately, there’s nothing much you can do to fire a client if you happen to be an employee unless you quit your job.
Difficult clients can be challenging; They can drain you of your energy, money, and scarce resources. They can even harm your brand’s equity if care is not taken.
At the end of the day, clients are just people like us – and to be sincere, learning how to deal with all types of people makes you a stronger, better business owner.
Care to share your own encounter with a difficult client? How did it play out? Share your experience with us in the comment section below. 🤓