If you have or run a business, there will come a time where you will have to deal with a difficult or angry customer. Sometimes their anger is justified and sometimes it is not.
Here are some tips for dealing with a difficult client
(you can apply these tips to both your offline and online encounters with customers)
- Remain Calm – I know this is probably the hardest part especially when you feel the client is not justified in being angry or rude but nothing positive will come of you responding in a similar manner. Think about how you would want a problem handled if you had a complaint. Then, treat your angry customer as you would want to be treated.
- Don’t take it personally – For entrepreneurs and small businesses, this is a hard one. So much time, energy and love is poured into the product/service and it is difficult not to take it personally. One technique to help you not take things personally is to remind yourself that while customer opinions are “important”, they pale in comparison to those of your family and friends. Remind yourself that you don’t want to allow a stranger to ruin your day, or an hour, or even a minute of your life.
- Abusive Customers – If the customer becomes very abusive, threatening and/or uses inappropriate language it is best that you ask them to leave or ask them to call back when they have calmed down. Also, some customers are known to complain about anything. If you come across one of those customers, decide whether this client is beneficial to your company or whether it might be worth it to lose them. The time wasted on one client like this could be dedicated to those that are “true” customers.
- Listen Well – Sometimes all a customer needs is to vent and be heard. Listen carefully, summarise, ask questions, genuinely sympathise and try to resolve the issue as best you can.
- Take some time out – Even if you have handled the situation professionally, it is always a stressful situation. Take some time out and go for a walk, treat yourself or do something fun. Don’t let the stress linger.