Some customers are a joy to work with. Others, however, can be immensely frustrating, sometimes to the point where it’s not worth maintaining a relationship. However, these high-maintenance customers don’t have to be a waste of time, and a few techniques can make time spent with them more productive than you might imagine. Here are a few tips for making the most of spending time with high-maintenance customers.
1. Practice Patience
High-maintenance customers can be trying, and the idea that you need to please all customers can be detrimental to your business. However, dealing with difficult customers allows you to practice patience and discipline.
Practice is key to become more productive when dealing with customers, and high-maintenance customers provide plenty of opportunity. If you’re able to maintain a positive and productive attitude when dealing with difficult customers, you’ll be better able to maintain the right frame of mind when dealing with more typical customers.
2. Learn More Details About Complaints
Most customers who have complaints about your business generally describe their complaints and want to move on. High-maintenance customers, on the other hand, are typically more than willing to go into detail about what they have a problem with.
Instead of trying to get these customers to immediately move in a more productive direction, spending some time hashing out exactly what they think can be improved can help you turn your time spent with them into an impromptu consulting session. Of course, these customers aren’t likely to be experts on what they’re complaining about, but their insight might bring up areas for improvement you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.
3. Find Your Limits
The high-maintenance customer you’re currently dealing with won’t be the last you encounter. However, you can use a high-maintenance customer to better determine how to deal with them in the future. Make sure to track how much time you’re spending with customers who take a considerable amount of time and estimate how much income you’ll bring in over the relationship.
If you find that the hours you spend dealing with a high-maintenance customer could be spent more productively on other tasks, it might be worth firing them and moving on. The data you gather making these estimates can help you know when to cut off problematic customers in the future, letting you spent time with customers more productively.
4. Develop Your Pitch
Having a quality pitch is essential for growing your business, and difficult customers give you a great opportunity to practice various techniques. Find out which terms or ideas are more likely to pique the interest of your customers. If your business is based on an app, find out which lines convince high-maintenance customers to download it.
If you’re selling vaporizers, find out if you’re more productive when emphasizing the fun of the vaping experience or if discussing how it’s a healthier alternative turns the conversation in a more productive direction. Ask employees to take note of what terms or ideas lead to sales, and use this information to better develop your sales pitch.
5. Website Improvements?
Much of modern business is done online, so your website is critical for success. If your challenging customer has problems with your website, make sure to focus on the specifics of their complaint and take notes. Again, feel free to dig into their complaints; high-maintenance customers are typically more than happy to answer questions you have, even if they don’t have a great attitude when doing so.
Most importantly, track what the most common complaints are. A single customer who struggles with certain elements of your website might simple struggle with the web in general. If multiple people lodge the same complaints, however, you likely have room for improvement.
6. Are They Right?
Many high-maintenance customers are simply operating in bad faith; they enjoy complaining, and they’ll spend as much time as possible doing so. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wrong about everything they complain about. Write down the complaints they have, and make sure everyone feels empowered to keep track of complaints they receive. Spend some time going over complaints, and consider the very real possibility that these complaints point to problems you can solve to improve your business.
It’s never fun to admit being wrong about something, especially if the insight comes from a difficult customer who seems intent on picking on small issues and wasting everyone’s time. However, identifying problems is invaluable, and, wherever the information comes from, it’s worth listening. Running a business involves admitting where you can do a better job, so don’t let the messenger obscure reality.