Some things are inevitable, both in life and in business. One of these inevitable truths many know within a business is that eventually everyone has difficult customers. There are varying degrees of which all businesses will come to deal with, but is the customer always right?
Most business owners know by now that they, of course, can not be and often customers can be wrong. But balancing the perception of being willing to listen to the customer and making them believe they are right is very difficult.
The vast majority of customers that a business will deal with will be a pleasant mix of people that are a joy to interact with while learning about the faces and names behind their favorite businesses. Or, you might have customers that love your company and continue to calmly do business with you.
Ultimately, keeping customers happy and engaged is key to growing a company. If you and your business practices are the backbone of your brand, the regular and loyal customers will be the blood.
But in every business, there will be encounters with customers that can turn a day unpleasant. Just ask companies like T-Mobile who dealt with a 30 percent increase in complaints in 2016. These customers are rude and abusive to your staff. Maybe they make excessive or crazy demands upfront or when something does not happen how they expected.
These customers are not the ones you want to keep. They can cripple a business. Distracting staff from other customer service opportunities, sales leads, and possibly creating a stressful environment. Now everyone has difficult or unsatisfying interactions from time to time.
One bad day should not completely change a perception of a regular customer. But there is a difference between a customer who gets upset with a situation once or complains when there is something they don't like and a customer that repeatedly brings trouble and poor behavior into your business.
Here are four ways to ditch your worst customers and be happy:
1. Maintain a Positive Demeanor
First, speaking in a positive tone and manner in customer service situations will almost always let customers come away from the interaction feeling better. Even if you deliver bad news or disagree with their stance.
Always thank the customer for trying your company or for giving you a chance to make things right if they had a problem. Never start off by fueling their fire. Blowing up will only make the situation worse and further their frustration and anger.
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2. Reset and Adjust the Situation
Second, avoid basic statements that might come off as attacks. Do not respond like DirecTV did recently by telling a customer "what you want is asking too much" or "I find you are constantly difficult and would rather you leave."
Instead, focus on the facts and rephrase them into the conversation to let the customer feel listened to. Such as "This request is not possible within our services right now and I apologize" or "It seems like our staff has not been able to accomplish this to make you happy."
3. Attempt to Make the Customer Whole
Refunds are always a part of customer service interactions. And they are often given for serious problems or failures on your part when trying to deliver to customers, so if you are trying to let a bad customer go then a refund will help.
Let the customer know that if they are not satisfied that you do not what their money. And it will go a long way in the customer leaving but with less bad blood towards your company. Do not make the same mistake as companies like Amazon did in 2016 and reject refund requests more often than processing them
4. Suggest Another Company and Apologize
You might feel the customer is in the wrong, but apologizing is a must in customer service. It may be saying you are sorry a member of the staff could not deliver what they desired or it could be simply apologizing for your product. And no fake half-hearted approaches please, apologize like you really mean it.
Ending the relationship with a serious apology and suggesting another competitor that may be better suited for what they desire can patch the situation and keep the damage to a minimum while calmly suggesting they take their business elsewhere.
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Firing a customer is not something to be done lightly. Turning customers away goes against trying to grow your business. But removing bad customers can be one of the most valuable things for the long-term growth of your company and it can save your staff many headaches when a customer becomes a constant issue.