Usually when visitors or customers are frustrated or angry our first line of defense is a good offense, although most times that’s not the best way to react. Our desire to win tends to lead us to an “us versus them” mindset, which doesn’t usually result in a win-win situation, or even a win for one side. We both end up as losers. The customer may have lost the battle, but we have lost a customer.
It doesn’t matter if we are right, we may be dead right… Which means we’re right but we may very well still be dead.
When I started writing this blog I entitled it, “How Do We Deal With Difficult Customers” then realized that just by calling them “difficult”, I was putting them into a box that said that they were being unreasonable, which led me to consider that they were somehow wrong. Whereas they might as well be right and just frustrated because the attitude they encountered was one of defensiveness or unwillingness to take responsibility.
Okay, we do get some truly difficult customers, who really might be determined to get what they want, whether or not what they want is realistic. But sometimes we are dealing with people who have not been able to get a problem resolved. Their frustration leads us to believe that they are just being difficult. I get a bit “difficult” myself when I am dealing with the phone company (any phone company). Though it is frustration that leads me to that point, rather than the desire to be difficult.
So, here are the things you can do to help:
Step One: Change your attitude to the person and their problem and you may well be able to change their attitude from frustration to gratitude.
Step Two: Counter their anger with an open and helpful demeanor.
Step Three: Show your willingness to understand the customer’s frustration without blame or defensiveness.
Step Four: Listen and ask questions to help diffuse the situation.
Step Five: Validate the frustration of the customer. Let them know that you understand why they would be frustrated and do your best to help them.
Step Six: If possible solve their problem or ask them to suggest a resolution.
It’s not always easy but it will definitely pay off – and not only for the customer, you‘ll feel better too.
A tip of the glass from me to you!