Every manager has to deal with rude customers from time to time. Dealing with obnoxious customers can be an unpleasant situation, but it can actually have a silver lining. A rude customer can bring problems to your attention that other customers keep to themselves.
However, you will have to be very careful with the way you respond to them. You want to make sure that you address the real problem and don’t alienate them. You also need to make sure you don’t look like a jerk to the other customers. Here are some guidelines you should follow.
Keep a Cool Head
Most managers will be offended when a customer insults their company or tells them they suck at their job. Your first temptation may be to retaliate by throwing the customer out of the business. However, you can be assured that they will spread lots of nasty rumors about your business.
You will also make a bad impression on other customers if you act unprofessionally or cause the rude customer’s behavior to escalate. Make sure that you act professionally and don’t forget to use good customer service practices.
Customer service should always be your goal, even when the customer is acting uncivilly.
Try to Empathize With Them
It can be very difficult to empathize with an obnoxious customer. Unfortunately, managers don’t have the luxury of trying to appease only the most pleasant customers.
Keep in mind that the customer may have a legitimate reason to be upset. They may also be projecting their frustrations with other issues in their own life. Either way, you will need to try to understand where they are coming from before you respond to them. They will be more likely to open up with you and tell you what the real problem is if you are polite to them.
Find Out What the Issue Is
The issue that the customer is complaining about may seem obvious. Suppose a customer is making a scene about how their food was a little cold. That must be the reason they are upset, right? Not necessarily.
The customer could be upset because they were offended by something their server said. Their outburst could just be a way to retaliate against them. You will need to talk to the customer and find out what the real issue is.
Ask leading questions to get them to divulge what their real issue is. Make sure that you are sympathetic to them. Do not interrupt them unless they become hostile or abusive.
Responding to the Customer
First and foremost, you should always try to help the customer with their problem. You may be able to appease them and get them to come back as a happy customer. You will also want to try to keep them happy so that they don’t speak negatively about your business.
However, there are some customers who you just can’t help. Some customers have a chip on their shoulder and need more help than you can give them. You should remove a customer who has become:
- Verbally or physically abusive
- Overly intoxicated
- Refusing to stop disrupting other customers
Make sure that you exhaust all other options before resorting to removing a customer. Most customer complaints can be dealt with in a way that makes everybody happy. However, there are some rare instances where customers need to be asked (or forced) to leave.
Respond to Customer Complaints
You want to address all customer complaints in a fair and impartial way. Try to empathize with your customer, and assure them that you will take care of the problem. This may be difficult when they aren’t being respectful to you, but you need to preserve the business’s reputation.
About the Author:
Kalen Smith is an entrepreneur, business advisor and freelance business writer. He is currently working with http://www.clevertim.com/.