It’s almost as if it’s a part of every business owner’s destiny that at some point they’ll have to deal with difficult customers. Each one of us wishes to have a smooth ride when it comes to dealing with customers but the contrary is inevitable! So here are our tips on how to deal with difficult customers.
Acknowledgement And Recognition Of The Problem
Most of your customers won’t complain when there is no problem; with that being said, some might. But in either of these cases, keeping your calm and listening to your customers is your first duty. You are responsible for what you are selling and you always have to own up to your mistakes. The first step of accepting any mistake is recognizing it and acknowledging it when it’s addressed.
Is The Complaint Valid?
This is the second part of receiving any complaint. You’ve listened carefully to what your customer has to say. Now it’s time to respond humbly, politely and respectfully, regardless of their complaint being valid or invalid. If you feel like their complaint is valid then you must think of an intervention.
An intervention can consist of many things such as a replacement, a reorder, or a discount or a free sample of some of the other products that you sell. Finding an intervention for the complaint made by your customer is like offering a deal to him, a deal that will decide whether they choose to visit your business in the future.
To remain in any business for a long term, you have to learn how to stitch people together and not how to tear them apart. So much like your personal contacts, your customers are important to you in their own way and they need to be treated as that.
Was It Really The Right Thing To Complain?
Sometimes, miscommunications happen. The other times, mistakes happen. You have to be able to differentiate between the two and know whether it was really a mistake such as a wrong food being delivered to the customer or the other time where there was a misunderstanding. In either of these cases, the customer has the right to come to you when they have faced a problem or when you have made a mistake. So being nice to them and being understanding must be your first response. Then the later respin may be a solution to the problem at hands.
What Can You Do To Make It Up To Them?
If you did make a mistake and the customer was right to complain about it, you can come up with many creative solutions to the problem at hands. You can offer them a discount on one of the other products or facilities. You can send out a replacement with an apology or a sweet little note that shows that you are sorry. You can invite them in for another visit and give them special offers on future business, or you can simply offer a refund if it’s demanded and if the complaint is really that concrete.
No matter what your way of making it up to them is, always keep in mind that yes, the customer may not always be right but at the end of the day, their opinions about your brand matter the most. Remember that your customers are the people who support and help your business to sustain in the long run.
What To Do When They Are Too Rude?
Them being rude while complaining should practically not matter to you as a seller because what matters more is whether their complaint is right or wrong. We have already talked about what you can do when their complaints are valid, but what can you do when a customer is rude to you while reporting a complaint that is invalid and is too stubborn to listen to you? The only thing you can and should do, is keep your calm. Because the interpretation of your customers about you is what gives your brand the credibility that it holds.
When a complaint is invalid, closure is knowing that you did not do something that made your customer angry. Closure is also knowing that the products you are selling are not at fault and closure, similarly, is also knowing that your customer was wrong to complain this time. But none of these things give you a free pass to become hostile or rude towards the complainer.
Sometimes you just have to remember that we all have bad days and we all take it out on other people sometimes. So maybe the customer was having “just one of those days”. Always keep reminding yourself of this and being nice to your customers will become easier for you.
What To Do When The Complaint Is Not Valid?
If the complaint is totally irrelevant or absurd such as a customer only trying to guilt you into giving a free deal, then remember, you have all the rights to politely deny and let them know that their complaint is not valid this time. Whatever you decide to say to them, keep it genuine, specific and polite.
Experience Is The Best Teacher, Right?
Whatever happens at work, adds up to your experiences as a store owner. No matter what kind of business you run, a restaurant, a bakery, a retail store or a multinational company. Each one of your customers has the potential to teach you more about business. Some might teach you about the pleasant and nice things some might put you through the hard times and the harsh experiences that train you to become a better entrepreneur.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Let us know what different ways you have of dealing with difficult customers. On a side note, we’ve heard vodka mixed in your water bottle helps a lot, but don’t take our word for it!