Writer: TONY AJAH
Focusing and managing your customers are the most important task in your business. However, managing difficult customers can be challenging, but it’s a critical skill that ensures the success of your business.
You will at one point in your business be confronted with dealing with difficult customers. So, mastering the right strategies to handle and manage them will put you ahead of your game.
Empathetically assess the situation
When dealing with difficult customers, first show empathy by putting yourself in their shoes to understand their perspectives. This can help defuse tension and demonstrate that you genuinely care about resolving the issue.
Listen to your customers’ complaints to be sure that you didn’t do anything wrong. Acknowledge their frustration or concerns. Let them vent without interruption, and make sure they feel heard and understood.
Sometimes, customers just want to express their feelings, and by giving them a chance to do so, you’re already taking a step toward resolving the situation. It’s cool if the matter can be resolved at this stage.
Is the situation redeemable?
When a bad situation happens between you and a particular customer, check if it’s redeemable. If the matter keeps re-occurring that’s not a good sign at all. For redeemable situations, do collaborate with the customer to decisively resolve the situation.
Offer refunds, where refunds are necessary, and replace where replacements are necessary to rectify the problem. You are in business to win and not to start fighting with customers.
There could be instances where a customer is dissatisfied not because of your mistake or fault but because he or she decided to be difficult. At this point, you have to set boundaries.
Set firm boundaries
While it’s important to be empathetic, you should also maintain boundaries if the customer becomes aggressive, abusive, or unreasonable. Calmly assert that you’re there to help.
Intentionally focus on finding a resolution while ensuring a respectful and professional exchange. Don’t engage in disrespectful or any behaviour you will regret later. So, put your emotions in check at this point.
One of your primary responsibilities in business is to keep getting better at serving and satisfying your customers. Unfortunately, it’s not every customer will be satisfied.
Your business is not for everyone
As hard and harsh as it might sound, your business is not for everyone. If the customers you have are not pushing your business forward, but unreasonably drag it, you a better off without them.
No amount of money is worth working with a difficult customer. They will take more than they will bring to the table. It’s been said that the customer is king. However, it’s not every customer that deserves the throne or a seat in your business kingdom.
You must learn to say ‘no’ to some customers. Be proactive in getting rid of those who don’t belong in your kingdom before they cause harm to your business. So, cull difficult customers.
We can’t rule out the fact that some people are very difficult to work with in life. They carry this difficulty in every life and business situation. The best thing to do with them is to replace them.
Every difficult customer can be replaced by a better one much quicker than you think. The work required to replace them is a far better use of your time than any work spent trying to please them. So, let a bad customer go. The only thing that will kill a recurring business is that more customers leave than sign up.
In conclusion, how you handle difficult situations can greatly impact their perception of your business. By staying focused and composed with the right attitude, you can turn a potentially negative situation into a positive customer experience. And addressing challenging situations with professionalism could be an opportunity for growth.
About the Author:
Tony Ajah is a Business Growth Strategist, and the author of BUSINESS SENSE, and ON BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR. He maintains a personal blog, where he shares proven business ideas and principles for SMEs.
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