Dealing with Unhappy Customers
Dealing with a rude customer can be challenging for any business owner or manager. Every now and then, no matter how good your service is, someone will come along to make your day a living hell. Unhappy customers come in all shapes and sizes but they all have one thing in common – dissatisfaction in a product or service,
Practice Reflective Listening
This approach requires you to understand what the other person is saying by interpreting their words and their body language. Then, respond by reflecting the thoughts and feelings you heard back to your customer. It is also important to sometimes take a deep breath and give yourself a moment to respond in the right way.
Tap into the Beginner’s Mind
The beginner’s mind — also known as the zen mind — is the strategy of approaching every situation as if you were a beginner. When you adopt this way of thinking, you enter every conversation with the “don’t know” mind, which keeps you from prejudging a customer or their situation.
It also encourages you to live without “shoulds.” These are nagging thoughts like:
– The customer should have read my email about their discount expiration.
– The customer should not have assumed I would be available for weekly consultations.
“Shoulds” put your mind on the defensive and jeopardize the productivity of the conversation before it even begins. The Zen mind also means you let go of being an expert. Sure, you’re an expert in your product/service, and you might be an expert in customer service, but you’re not an expert in this customer, their situation, or the conversation you’re currently engaging in.
If your customer sounds angry or negative about a situation, thanking them for voicing their concern to you can go a long way toward building rapport with them. A simple thank-you to acknowledge their time and patience as you work to resolve the issue will suffice.
Solve the Problem
Make it clear to the customer what you’ll do to get started addressing their concern. Whether it’s something simple you can do over the phone, or if you’ll need to go through a process with them, spell out your next moves so the customer feels heard and at ease.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Conflict is a part of business. How you react under fire impacts the future of your customer relationships. The adage, “The customer is always right” still rings true. You have far more to lose by taking the low road and stooping to a customer’s level of hostility.
Treating someone with disdain or disrespect can reflect negatively on you and your company, so reputation management should always be top of mind. Remember, people will often mirror the emotional signals you emit. If you respond with hostility and anger, don’t expect friendliness and understanding in return.