|Handling Different Types of Customers. |[pic][pic][pic] |
|Abacus International | |
|Friday, 6th April 2007 | |
We all have them â€“ difficult customers or customers that we perceive to be difficult. How do we turn these difficult customers into potentially good customers instead of turning them away?
Borrowing techniques from Dr Patricia Patton, here are some tips to handle the different types of potentially challenging customers. This is part one in a two-part series.
The hostile and aggressive types
In handling hostile and aggressive customers, you will likely feel threatened, awkward, angry or fearful even.
Remain calm and professional
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If their emotional outbursts last too long, you can interrupt them. If you must do so, call them by name and repeat their complaints first before offering your help or solution.
Sit them down
Most people are less aggressive if they are sitting down, so invite them to sit. However, if they choose not to sit, you should also remain standing to remain in control.
Although this will probably be the toughest thing to do, you must remain calm and friendly. When they realise they cannot intimidate you or incur your wrath, they will calm down and adopt your posture as well.
Keep eye contact
Keeping eye contact with them is about remaining in control, being confident and calm, and thus professional. Do that without appearing defensive or aggressive. You have to maintain a posture of service throughout.
Do not argue
Do not engage in counter arguments. You can state your opinions assertively but not confrontationally. Do not try to cut the customer down. The idea here is not to make the customer feel bad, but quite the opposite.
These are probably the most common type of â€˜challengingâ€™ customers.
Listen to the customersâ€™ complaints and avoid interrupting. Try not to look or sound impatient.
Do not pass judgment
Validate their complaints, but do not pass judgment. Keep your voice and facial expressions neutral all the time.
Maintain service attitude
Regardless of whether the complaint is founded or not, maintain an attitude of service.
Do not rush to agree or apologise
Do not rush to agree or apologise for the allegations. Try and find a resolution first to the problem. If need be, then do further investigations into the allegations and make amends where appropriate. Sometimes, complaining customers only want to be heard.
Solve the problem
Instead of taking a defensive stance, move into a problem-solving mode. Ask specific questions, request for a handwritten complaint to ensure all the facts are in black and white, and get the customer to agree to focus on solving the problem.