How To Deal With Difficult Customers
In business dealings, difficult customers present a tough challenge. They demand satisfaction and tend to continually adjust their needs as the transaction proceeds. Situations like that require a level-headed salesperson who can expertly diffuse the exchange in a way that satisfies everyone concerned. Anything other than that creates an atmosphere of distrust and hostility that will affect the reputation of your business.
When a client becomes tough to work with, the salesperson has to choose between controlling the situation, succumbing to anger, or walking away from it. To take control of that situation, a salesperson must adopt an optimistic disposition.
How can you Identify a Difficult Customer?
A difficult customer often finds ways to make your job more difficult than it should be. The customer might bombard you with calls, request for impossible details, call you at odd hours or even default on payment. Problematic customers tend to put a strain on your work resources and disrupt your workflow.
Here are some contentious personalities you could come across:
- The uncertain one. The customer who cannot sign off on anything until someone else seconds the idea. With this kind of customer, you might be getting lots of revisions to the initial work plan.
- The perfectionist. The client who feels they know more about your work than you do. You can expect customers like this to be hard to please.
- The impatient one. This type of client is never satisfied with the pace of your work. Customers like this expect their work to become your life.
- The freebie specialist. People in this category are always on the lookout for how they can get you to do more for less pay. You can expect them to disagree with whatever invoice you present.
- Problematic customers tend to put a strain on your work resources and disrupt your workflow. The influence of a difficult customer could even go as far as increasing you and your staff’s stress, and staff turnovers.
How can you Satisfy an Unhappy Customer?
The success of your business depends on how well you relate to your customers. Here are some ideas for dealing with difficult customers.
- Listen more and talk less
Try not to be forceful when handling a demanding client. Even in cases where the customer is wrong, always be ready to let them do the talking. You can only diffuse the situation by carefully articulating the customer’s perspective and noting where it deviates from yours.
If you spend the entire interaction, reacting to what is said, you will accomplish nothing from the conversation. When you listen more, you strengthen trust, harmony, and gain the respect of the client.
- Be understanding
Customers always want to feel heard. Try to show empathy when dealing with a disgruntled client. The client is more at ease when you demonstrate concern for their needs. Always be ready to put yourself in the shoes of the customer and say only the things you would like to hear yourself.
- Show emotional restraint
If the client curses or resorts to insults, maintain an emotional distance from what is said. By ignoring the rage, you can identify the fears of the client and address the actual problem without feeding the negativity.
Remind yourself that you are in a business setting and try not to get too personal. Focus instead on leading the exchange in the direction of a solution and take the affronts on the chin.
- Cut your losses
It is not uncommon to take a loss from a disgruntled client’s job. Your reputation, however, supersedes any profit you could have made. A problem client may become your best client when they see how much devotion you put into your work. Keep your focus on the ultimate goal.
Resolving the issue should be your focus, even if it is not to your benefit. Having business insurance covers these kinds of risk-intensive situations and can protect your livelihood and reputation. That way, you are never at the mercy of an unhappy customer.
- Review and learn
Never be afraid to turn the searchlight on yourself and check where you might have gone wrong. Backtrack and assess the situation, consider the origin of the problem, and be honest about what you could have done differently.
Figure out what could have prevented the issue from escalating, and how you can apply what you discover to subsequent transactions. Try not to take yourself too seriously; a touch of humour can help you deal with these encounters better.