How To Deal With Problem Customers

By Subodh / August 27, 2013

In the retail market, it is not just the sale of products that leads to success, but also the quality of customer service that often tend to differentiate a particular company from its rivals. However, there are situations quite obvious in the lives of retail pros, where it is the customers themselves who make it difficult for the retailers to provide efficient and high-quality service.

Difficult customers generally range from angry, impatient ones to demanding and intimidating ones. Normally, in situations like this, one needs to deal professionally with them, by staying out of it emotionally and by concentrating on listening actively and non-defensively.

It can be a very challenging task for the retailers to deal with upset and difficult customers, as there occur situations when the customer can get abusive or irrational. A list of ways as explicated below can in some way help deal with the customers’ needs:

Customers

  • The primary tip that one needs to keep in their mind is to put oneself into a customer service mindset, setting aside any personal feelings regarding ‘unfair criticism’ on the part of the customer.
  • Listening attentively and actively to what the customer is saying, to the reasons of their anger, grievance, instead of trying to solve the situation right away or jumping to conclusions. Let the customer vent, because an angry customer needs to vent. It is also important to then repeat the problem as stated by the customer to ensure whether the right issue is being addressed. This will make the customer feel better and show him/her that he/she was heard.
  • Empathy can be another effective way to deal with the customer’s feelings. It need not be about agreement, but at least acceptance of what the customer is feeling and saying.  Showing that you care and understand why she/he is upset can help cool down a heated up situation.
  • Staying calm is the most important tip that can be offered to a retailer. Talking slowly and calmly, using a low tone of voice can help decrease the tension, especially when the customer is very angry.
  • Sometimes, customers can be unreasonable and may criticize unnecessarily and unfairly. In situations like these, it is mandatory for the retailer to control his/her or learn some anger management skills if required.
  • Is it also noticed or seen that some customers can get abusive. It is then important to be assertive and also stand up for oneself. One may even walk away from the situation, excusing the client/customer to cool down.
  • Apologizing is something one should learn in order to impress their clients/customers. Also admitting one’s faults and even overcompensating to make up for the loss helps in creating a good impression and good character.
  • One should never argue with their customer, especially when he/she is angry or displeased. One should never blame either, not the customer and definitely not the company. This could even lead to lawsuits.
  • Getting comfortable with the customer by building a rapport is necessary. If the customer tends to like the retailer (on phone or face-to-face), then he/she may even accept and forgive the mistakes made.
  • Regardless of the situation, one should not judge or correct a customer. One should, on the other hand, communicate with sincerity as well as honesty, solve the problem as soon as possible and then thank them for their patience and understanding.
  • In spite of all the above mentioned tips, it is best to be proactive in preventing any problems from occurring. As it is famously said, “prevention is better than cure”, it is better if the retail pros consider the situations that can cause customer dissatisfaction and consequently think of ways to prevent them from occurring.

Nevertheless, in spite of strenuous efforts, There can be customers who can keep complaining in spite of all right doings. Ii is then advised to try one’s best and then let go of the situation. One should never carry it over to the next customer. One should remember that it is their job to help their customers, no matter what the situation may be.