Training Strategy Guide for Dealing with Difficult Customers
Any business’ value proposition or mission is to treat the customer as king since he is key to the success of the business. Research has shown that keeping a a customer is less costly as compared to acquiring a new one. Maintaining one’s customers is thus important for any business that wishes to grow and expand or rather remain in business. To ensure this, there ought to be systems in place. Firstly, anything that can cause customer dissatisfaction should be avoided or problems that might lead to this should be prevented. Other measures should be to put in place an employee training program to deal with difficult customers. It is also necessary to improve your products and services or alternatively set up a legitimate quality control program.
Some customers can actually decide to be difficult for very slight reasons and this is hurtful for the business. There are the perpetually unhappy customers, the schemers and the cherry pickers; these, as explained by Pareto law are unlikely to bring long term gains to the business in any case. The best way to deal with such is to train your personnel to recognize them and distance them from the customer list, never to deal with them. Such customers want you to view things with their eyes, smell through his nose, feel through their soul and touch through their fingers and yet this can not be possible.
The training program should inculcate in the workers the following customer relations skills:
Identification of the angry customer
The difficult customer might be behaving in that manner of way because of anger which he or she might express aggressively or passively. It is vital for a business employee to take notice of such a customer. An aggressive individual would most likely employ sarcasm in expressing his anger concerning the commodity or service in question, whereas a passive one will use his body language, for example by not showing up to do business with you again.
Allowing the customer time to vent
The worker should allow the customer time to express his feeling as he remains quiet. He should empathize with the customer and show concern by listening to what he got to say by maintaining eye contact and responding by nodding. He should also provide feedback and this should not be judgmental and should sound sincere. Lastly, the worker ought to summarize the details, restating the problem to confirm that he was attentive.
Active problem solving
The employee should try to establish what the customer wants and suggest alternatives. The bridging technique and mirroring technique should be employed by the worker for this. In trying to get the customer to state the problem, there’s a tendency of him veering off the course and thus the bridging technique would be necessary to build a bridge between the customer’s statement and the direction you want the conversation to take. The mirroring technique is applied when summarizing the employees understanding of the customer’s statement and reflecting it back to him so that he verifies the workers understanding of the facts.
Agreement on the solution
The two should share information and agree on a solution. The Resolution should be mutually agreed upon by the two. The solution agreed upon should however be realistic and the worker should not promise what he knows the business cannot deliver. Follow up is necessary after this. This can be by e-mail, letter or by phone. An effective follow up would yield good returns for the business. This is necessary in confirming whether the solution worked and fixing the problem anew incase the customer was unsatisfied with the solution.
For a business to grow and make profits, it is paramount that it successfully acquires and retains its customers. Incase a high net-worth customer is left to go, the firm needs a process that has been proven to win such a customer back. Most businesses and service providers would agree that the most skilled firm in providing customer service would have a competitive advantage over the others as this sets it apart from the other firms’ competition.