We've all heard the number one lesson of customer service: 'the customer is always right'. But even with that in mind it's still easy to get frustrated with difficult customer experiences.
Dealing with difficult customers can test even the most patient SME owners but it's still important you take a professional approach to the situation as bad customer experiences can actually help improve your business.
Dealing with difficult customers can provide you with a platform to publically showcase your customer services skills and can contribute to your brand reputation as a result. Here are five tips that can help you deal with bad customers and strengthen your customer service.
Listen to the complaint
In most cases customers just want to vent their frustration to someone working within the business. That's why it's important to actively listen to all customer grievances and resist any temptation to interrupt early with a solution.
Remember that in some cases negative feedback can actually be more beneficial than positive feedback as it allows you to identify areas of the business that can be improved.
Don't take it personally
As a business owner it's very easy to take negative feedback to heart as personal criticism. However, regardless of how a customer addresses you it's vital you don't get defensive. Remember that the customer is angry at the company and not you.
Empathise with their situation
Customers will often be emotional and hard to communicate with when they are making a complaint. It's important that you do your best to hear their concerns and provide a solution. Consider the situation from their point of view and always acknowledge their position.
End on a positive note
Regardless of the outcome, it's possible some customers will still leave your business unhappy and aggravated. It's vital that you try to defuse the tension in the situation early and finish the communication on a positive note. Be sure to thank the customer for their patience and outline how you will better their next customer experience.
Even if you have addressed a customer's concern on the spot it's still important to follow up after the tension has died down. Take down the customer's details and then aim to give them a call within a week to follow up. By doing so you acknowledge that their customer experience is important, improving the likelihood of turning a difficult customer into a loyal one.
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