Dealing with difficult customers. It takes all kinds. Anyone who works with customers face to face or by telephone will eventually have to deal with difficult customers. They come from all walks of life and from every part of the country, some of their concerns are valid, some of their concerns are not. Some are rude and mean, some are polite and sweet. Some of them are condescending and arrogant others are appreciative and grateful. No matter where they are from or why they are speaking with you, the common element among all these people is that they purchased a product or service from you or your company and that makes them your customer. This entitles them to the best customer service possible, no matter what.
Customer service is a mindset, not a title. I have worked in customer service in some capacity since 1989. I have had the opportunity to be part of organizations that prided themselves on putting their customers first. After years of extensive training and experience, I can honestly say that excellent customer comes from the mindset of the customer service representative and is enhanced by their training. Dealing with difficult customers is a challenge, but this challenge can be faced and overcome if you arm yourself with an understanding of a few simple principles.
Remain calm and professional. Some people try to rationalize being emotional and unprofessional when speaking with difficult customers, but there is no rational. In most cases, the reason the customer is upset has nothing to do with the representative. There is no reason to take their negativity personally. If the customer attempts to make it personal, ignore it and be calm and professional.
Listen actively. You can easily hear the words that someone is saying without really listening. The hardest part of dealing with difficult customers is listening to them “Actively.” Whenever I deal with a difficult customer, I make it a point to try to establish what their concern is. I write down key points of their issue to make sure that I address the concern fully. After listening to the customer, I restate their concern in my words so that they understand that I understand the issue.
Communicate effectively. After listening to the customers concern, I explain to them that I will do my best to help them. This is a simple but important step in the communication process. I have essentially promised to help them and taken ownership of the situation.
End your encounter on a friendly and professional manner. After addressing the customers concern, make an attempt to be friendly, but no matter what, be professional.
These guidelines have helped me in the past, and I still use them today. I hope that you find them helpful.