7 Ways to Please Demanding Customers

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Dealing with customers can be fun and exciting. Some people choose to go into a retail profession because they love to work with people. However, even those with excellent people skills will run into difficult customers every now and then. When that happens, it’s important to use the right skills when resolving the issue.

Sometimes, when you’re facing the toughest of customers, it’s tempting to simply throw in the towel and give up. A few bad customer experiences couldn’t tarnish your reputation very much, right? Actually, it could make a huge impact. It takes 12 positive customer service experiences to make up for a single negative experience.

Additionally, it’s important to note that approximately 84 percent of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family, while 68 percent say they trust recommendations from total strangers. When you lose a customer, you also run the risk of exposing their friends and families to negative assessments of your company. They may also leave a bad review on Google, convincing customers to look for service elsewhere.

Finally, consider the cost of acquiring a new customer versus retaining an existing one. It’s between six and seven times more expensive to go through the acquisition process than the retention process. Making an effort to keep your current customers is essential to avoiding extra costs.

In short, losing a customer because you couldn’t meet their demands is very rarely worth the cost. When faced with the most difficult of customers, here are a few things you should try:

1. Show Respect

Every concern brought to your attention should be addressed with respect, despite how silly or strange the concern might seem to you. When dealing with the toughest of customers, issues often come down to them needing to be heard and valued.

Instead of telling customers that their concern isn’t valid or that you can’t help them, listen carefully to what they’re asking, and valiantly look for a solution. Even if there isn’t something that will meet both of your needs, the customer will be satiated by your respectful tone and sincere efforts on their behalf.

2. Take Control of the Situation

You’ll have a much easier time achieving a reasonable solution for all parties if you find a way to run the show, but let the customer believe they hold the power. The best way to achieve this is through guided suggestions.

For example, you might suggest the customer receive certain discounts because of the trouble they experienced. This will help to soften the customer’s anger and help them see your authority. From there, they’ll be more apt to let you take control and resolve the issue.

3. Don’t Take Things Personally

In addition to controlling the situation, also control yourself. Balance your emotions before you find yourself arguing, name-calling, or worse. Separate yourself from the customer frustration, and remind yourself the customer isn’t mad at you, but the company. Extrication will allow you a measured degree of control that you can use to diffuse the situation and derive a solution.

4. Be Compassionate

Nine times out of ten, the disgruntled customer isn’t calling to give you a rough time just for fun. They’re obviously going through something difficult, whether with a product or service the company provided, or an unrelated situation that put their emotions on edge. Try to put yourself in their shoes. How would you be feeling? How would you want the representative to react?

A little compassion and empathy can go a long way in making a difficult situation seem resolvable. Also, never blame anyone. No matter who’s at fault, you must maintain loyalty towards both sides. The result will be a much stronger bond on both ends.

5. Listen

Before you speak, listen to the entire complaint. Let the customer vent for a few minutes. This will help them alleviate stress and help you get a better grasp on the situation. Ask a few clarifying questions and make minimal comments to let the customer know they’re being heard and understood.

After they’ve finished their rant and indicated they’re ready for a solution, repeat or rephrase some of what you heard to let them know you were really listening. Take their complaints to heart when searching for a solution that will meet everyone’s needs.

6. Let Yourself Be Wrong

You may find yourself in a situation in which nothing you say or do will appease the customer. When that happens, simply surrender and agree with the customer, even if they’re in the wrong. When the customer feels that they’ve won the argument, they’ll often be more open to what you have to say.

7. Give A Little

As mentioned previously, the cost of acquiring a customer is far more than retaining one, even if it means you have to give refunds, discounts, or freebies. When the customer seems impossible to please, refusing to give into any of their demands will only cause them to leave. On the other hand, giving in will make the customer recognize that you value them, and they’ll be more likely to return in the future.  

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

1 COMMENT

  1. Larry, you perfectly outlined 7 steps to pleasing demanding customers. I’m confident any CX leader has had their fair share of challenging customers. Not taking things personally can be hard to do, depending upon the situation, but is most important. It can be easy to get irritated/offended by the customer’s actions and then not want to help them; however, removing yourself personally from the equation allows you to create solutions. Thanks for sharing!

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