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Blog Post

How to Deal With Difficult Customers

January 30, 2018
Table of Contents

Handling difficult customers is never easy, especially when it’s online. With that being said, how you handle customers will have a direct reflection of your customer’s opinion on your company and brand. Depending on how you are able to handle the situation, your customer will either leave the interaction feeling understood and appreciated or upset and annoyed.

Do yourself and your company a favor by making sure your customer has an excellent experience every time they interact with your brand, even if it’s something they initially aren’t happy with. While we know this can be difficult (especially if they are giving you a hard time), this is one of the major factors that every business should practice if they want brand loyalty and faithful customers.

Below are some helpful tips to follow while dealing with difficult customers online. By considering these pointers, you will be able to communicate effectively while also creating a positive experience for your customers.

How to Handle the Situation

Listen, Listen, and Listen Some More

If your customer is contacting your business, chances are they are really wanting to address an issue that is bothering them. If their complaint is addressed through an email, they will be able to express all their worries and concerns thoroughly before you have a chance to respond. If the condition is dealt with over the phone, be mindful of your tone of voice and how you react, especially if they are demanding.

Ask questions regarding the issue so the customer can thoroughly explain their concern, which will help to make them feel like you personally want to know more about the situation at hand. Providing your customer with your undivided attention will not only set up the conversation on the right foot but will also allow you to fully understand the scene before reacting.

Address the Issue Right Away

If an angry customer is commenting on your Instagram, Twitter, or other social media platform, it’s absolutely critical to address the issue as soon as possible. Time is of the essence when it comes to public comments regarding your company’s reputation. The longer the issue is left unattended, the higher the probability it will do damage to your company image. Responding in a timely fashion offering some type of benefit can drastically improve your customer’s impression of the company and also show other potential customers that your brand truly cares.

Try to Solve the Problem

No matter what your role is, try to find a solution to your customer’s problem or find someone who can. Take a detailed report of the situation so that you can pass on this information to someone who handles customer complaints. With that being said, no customer wants to be transferred through several phone conversations with different departments trying to find the right person to talk to. Be direct with your customer and tell them exactly who will be helping them next or transfer them right away to the other person. Taking this kind of initiative will be greatly appreciated by your customer and will ultimately create a more positive experience.

Don’t Overpromise or Underdeliver

No one wants to be told one thing and have the next person take it back. If you over promise to your customer and can’t deliver, that is only going to worsen their opinion about your company. Not only is it extremely unprofessional, but it also makes your company look unreliable as well.  Before you deal with a situation or offer anything, make sure you are approved by your superiors. Being on the same page as your team is critical when dealing with customer complaints, that way you know exactly how to handle each case and everyone in the company knows the expectations.

How NOT to Handle the Situation

Ignore the Customer

If you think your upset customer will just “disappear” if you don’t respond, guess again.

While it’s always wise to take some time to curate a response to an angry customer, that doesn’t mean you should take too long. This is especially the case for e-commerce businesses where almost everything is handled over the web. If you are handed a difficult client who is demanding something completely unreasonable, try to stay as cool, calm and collected as possible. Once again, take your time and think exactly how you want to respond if it’s over email.

Try to address the situation as soon as possible. The longer you take to respond to a client, the more upset they will be, only causing the issue to escalate even further. Pushing back the issue until another member of your team receives the complaint is not the best way to handle the situation either. Not only will your customer feel unimportant, but they will also discredit your company as a whole.

Let Your Emotions Get the Best of You

Two hot heads in a heated debate will only add fuel to the fire. If you handle a situation unprofessionally by yelling or blaming the customer, good luck ever getting them back. Not only did you just lose a valuable customer, but you also made a terrible impression for your overall company, possibly influencing other potential customers in the process. Don’t forget that word of mouth is a very powerful tool, and if one negative customer wants to let other people know about their experience, they will. Everyone knows that handling difficult customers can be exceptionally challenging, especially online where the interaction is not face-to-face.

Handle Every Situation the Same

Regardless of company policy and how you deal with online customers, do not handle the situation without any consideration to the individual’s unique case. The last thing your customer wants is to feel like they are communicating with a robot delivering the same automated message to everyone that puts in a complaint. Address the situation personally and make the customer feel that you are really listening to them. Even if you can’t grant them what they may be requesting, the way you handle the situation will determine your customer’s overall impression of your company later on.

Wrapping Up

Keeping a positive reputation for your brand is imperative if you want to succeed in your industry. Having an exceptional customer service team can even set you apart from your close rivals, which is why your entire team needs to learn how to handle difficult customers. Being proactive, patient, and professional are key components that will help tremendously when dealing with these situations.

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