Do some people make your heart sink? How much time do you spend finding reasons not to call them? How hard have you tried to make it work? Are there some people that you spend lots of time and effort for little return? At business networking events or on-line forums, people moan about their problem customers and ask for advice on how to deal with them.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could tap into expert knowledge? Not just to learn how to manage difficult customers, but also avoid having problem customers?
You aren’t alone
Having managed several businesses and third sector organisations, I’ve had my share of “heart-sink” customers and done my share of moaning. As a business coach and mediator, I’ve heard lots of stories about rude customers, demanding customers, problem customers. We’d all love a magic wand that would instantly change them into lovely people. I don’t have a magic wand, but I do have some tips on how to apply “conflict first aid” and how to avoid getting into the situation in the first place.
The best way to react to an unhappy customer often seems counter-intuitive. We want to rush in and justify ourselves, prove them wrong, put our side of it… That doesn’t usually work, but that’s the instinctive response
- Pause. Don’t react out of anger or pain. Yes, you will feel hurt and your first instinct is to lash out or defend yourself. But stop, take a breath and think about what is important and how to achieve it.
- Listen. Don’t defend, don’t rush in with offers to put it right. Just listen to what the problem is.
- Ask. Ask what their solution is. Seriously think about it.
- Decide what will resolve the situation, be clear about it and accept the consequences.
I know this is not easy, but it works. There are lots of strategies for keeping yourself calm and managing emotions. If you need some help with this, email me to arrange a free 15-minute consultation. For an ebook on how to stay calm and confident in stressful situations, click here.
As to how to avoid getting into the situation in the first place, that’s another blog… if you don’t want to miss it sign up here and it will go straight to your in-box.