Let’s face it: Not every customer you interact with is going to be the friendliest, and because of this unfortunate fact, it can be extremely difficult to be patient and kind with customers at all times.
Nevertheless, if your current employment requires you to handle customers with the utmost respect, then there are numerous steps and precautions you will need to take when handling a customer who is irate and frustrated.
If you find yourself struggling to deal with difficult customers on a regular basis, here are four tips to keep in mind the next time you have a conflict with a customer:
This point may seem fairly obvious, but it can’t be stressed enough. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason, so whenever a customer goes on a tirade about an issue, try to smile and nod politely and don’t interject on them. Sometimes even apologizing or saying “I understand” over and over again may frustrate the customer even more, so try to keep your mouth shut and listen to what they are trying to say (even if it doesn’t make any sense).
Ask the Customer What They Want
If you are in a rush and you don’t have time to politely listen to a customer complain for hours on end, sometimes the best way to deal with an angry customer is to wait until they take a breath, then politely ask them what it is they want you to do. If their demands are reasonable, then chances are the problem will get solved much quicker than you think.
Repeat What the Customer Says
One of the best ways to deal with customer conflict, or any other kind of conflict for that matter, is to repeat word for word what the customer has just said. This way it shows the customer that you truly understand the points that they are trying to get across, and it forces them to discuss the issue with you instead of shifting their complaints to another employee or even worse, another customer.
Focus on a Solution
And last, but certainly not least, if the customer shows no signs of slowing down while explaining to you what he/she is upset about, then try to steer the conversation away from the problem and focus on a solution instead. This will not only help solve any issues the customer is having, it also speeds up the complaint process as well.
About the Author
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and recent graduate of Elon University. She is currently blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.