Dealing with Difficult Customers: 6 Weapons to Kill their Anger or Disgust

It is common to receive phone calls from difficult customers who can be rude and intimidating, fault finders and constant complainers. Your biggest challenge is to learn how to effectively manage them. Your list of customer service skills should include an item called the ability to deal with a difficult customer.

Below is a list of practical tips which you can apply in dealing with difficult customers. Start practicing your patience now by going through these 6 valuable items:

  1. Respect and Listen. Let the customer speak and concentrate on listening non-defensively. Never argue. Just listen actively to what he is saying and what he is not saying (It is necessary to read between the lines to uncover the customer’s thoughts). Your customer wants to know that you are interested in solving what they believe is the missing link in your delivery of products and services to them.

  2. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Empathy is the word. This is the best way to effectively deal with your customer’s feelings or emotions. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with them only that you have to accept and understand what he is saying or feeling.

  3. Do not say sorry. This is an overused word and saying sorry means that you are admitting your fault and the company’s. That means you are losing the value of the word ‘sorry’ as well as you are losing the value of your company. You can still say sorry just but make sure that it is part of a full sentence. An example, “I’m sorry you haven’t received the delivery as promised Mr. Spears…”

  4. Handle conflicts objectively. This means that you have to walk an extra mile to identify what the problem is and follow the standard operating procedure (SOP) or appropriate and individualized method of solving the problem. After all it is still necessary to follow up with your customer through a phone call or email to evaluate the effectiveness of the action taken and to improve product and service delivery in the future.

  5. Deal with your own personal issues. Get control of yourself. Remember that whatever you are feeling can be sensed by your customers. When you are at work or you are talking to a client through the phone or Skype be sure to paint that big smile on your face and maintain a positive attitude. Leave your family problems at your home and don’t be stressed out or depressed. You need to have that cheerful persona so your customer will feel the same way.

  6. Get someone who can help you deal with your customer. There are going to be instances where your customer will not calm down. When this happens do not hesitate to get the help of your manager or supervisor. Your immediate superior ultimately knows the ins and outs of the company. It’s possible that he can address the problem for your customer better.

Defining what good customer service is has a lot do with handling difficult customers. Dealing not only with their problems but their emotions as well. A mix of patience and empathy is the key in solving the entire issue. Whether you are a customer service representative or a virtual assistant working as a work-at-home telephone support you need to master these strategies.

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