We’ve all experienced times where we thought “this customer situation will not be rectified”, or “this customer is just too difficult”, or “there is no way to please them”. I believe that nine times out of ten, a customer situation can be diffused and it is all in the approach you take with that customer.
Here are five tips that you can keep in your back pocket the next time you are faced with an unhappy customer.
- Listen. It is imperative to listen intently to what your customer says. The information being shared may not be easily digested; however one must adjust their mindset. Adjusting your mindset includes setting aside your opinions, judgment and feelings toward the situation. By adjusting your mindset you can now actively listen. Apologize for the feelings they are experiencing; this provides the customer with the awareness that you are supporting them as a customer.
- Empathize. When a customer has a conflict, problem or concern it is important to understand their point of view. It may be helpful to place yourself into their shoes to better understand their perspective. Understand their problem and re-iterate their concerns, advise them that you understand where they are coming from. Advise them that you are prepared to devise a solution. By empathizing, we can diffuse their feelings and bring them to a level where solution forming and or negotiation can begin. If we shift our perspective and gather all details we can start the path to the solution.
- Respect. It will always work in your favor when you can provide your customer with respect above all else, regardless of the level of their concern. By offering respect you gain trust. Advise your customer that you will do your very best to determine a fair solution in a timely manner.
- Quick Response Time. This can make or break your trust and enhance or deteriorate your relationship. Running into the fire with a sense of urgency demonstrates to your customer that you are taking their concerns very seriously and are eager to provide a solution and resume business activities. Providing an explanation to their concern with a willingness to help come to a solution will help alleviate their feelings.
- Present a Solution. After collecting all details it is time to come to a solution. A solution that is fair for all parties involved and in line with company policy will ensure continued trust and respect from your customer. Providing your staff with the freedom to slightly tweak or adjust the solution to a certain degree to ensure customer satisfaction will allow for quick resolution and continued customer success.
Every difficult situation presents a gift—something that can be learned. The situation can be utilized as a learning tool for similar situations in the future and can be recognized as growth for the employee(s) involved.