You handle challenging customers by being sympathetic, avoiding getting angry, getting the customer on your side and solving the problem in the most efficient way.
In a customer service job, you must deal with difficult customers all the time. They may be angry, frustrated, upset or annoyed at a specific problem, or just at your organisation. Furthermore, they could just be wrong, but you need to deal with all situations effectively and professionally.
It’s important to deal with these customers in the best way possible, to avoid them moving to a competitor. Ultimately, your customer services can make you stand out from the rest.
Handling Challenging Customers
Firstly, you need to try and build a good relationship with the customer by being sympathetic to their cause.
Try and build a rapport by listening to their problems and trying to understand where they are coming from. This is important, because “if you can identify the customer’s issue, it will help calm them down”.
This boils down to simple things, like sounding sincere and positive body language if it is an in-person meeting. This is great customer care, because the person will think that you are trustworthy, which is a good relationship to solve problems with.
Secondly, you should try to control your emotions and avoid getting angry.
In customer services, customers with problems aren’t attacking you, they are annoyed with the situation. You need to realise this in order to keep your emotions in check, as you shouldn’t take it personally.
Showing anger or annoyance towards the complainer will just make things worse. So will the customer getting more annoyed, so try and calm them down first.
Angry customers may want to rant, so let them blow off some steam before you talk to them. This will let them release their stress, and once they do, respond in a cool and calm way. Don’t interrupt or respond by shouting, as you’ll make the person even more angry.
Get the Customer on Your Side
Next, you should try and get the customer on your side.
Your main aim should be making it a ‘you and me against the problem’– type situation, instead of a ‘you against me’ one. It is really important for client service to get the customer your side, because you show that you are not the person to be angry at.
But how do you do this? Well, remind customers that you are just here to help. Being sympathetic with their cause also helps, because you can pinpoint their exact problem and tackle it. What you shouldn’t do, is make out as if the problem is the fault of the customer.
Finally, you should offer solutions and get the problem sorted.
After all, the customer came to you because of a certain problem or grievance they have. By delaying the solution or failing to properly implement it, you will not fulfil the needs of the customer. Consequently, the situation becomes worse and the customer may move to a competitor.
Therefore, good problem-solving skills are vital for dealing with difficult customers. This rests on good listening skills, because if you know exactly what the issue is, you can solve it and make the customer happy. Some challenging customers are demanding and may have multiple problems, so just remind them what you can and cannot do.
If a problem doesn’t have an immediate fix, ensure the customer that your organisation has listened and is moving as fast as it can.
For more information, you can view our online customer services pathway. This set of courses includes our very own satisfying challenging behaviour training, which will enable your employees to deal with all types of customer.