In any customer-focused business environment, you’ll have to deal with some difficult clients. The nature of interacting with a varied public means you won’t usually have much control over customers’ temperaments. Now and then, you’ll have to deal with downright rude and irrational behavior. Dealing with angry demands in a measured and professional way can mean the difference between success and failure at work. Here are some tips on dealing with difficult customers when they appear.
Realize It’s Often Not To Do With You or Your Business
Whether you’re the boss or employee of the store or business dealing with a difficult customer, often the source of your client’s anger will have little to do with you or your company. Of course, everyone makes occasional mistakes at work. It’s definitely necessary to rectify these errors appropriately when that happens. Yet, often your work may be perfect and something still isn’t quite right with the customer. Perhaps they expect something to be completed much faster than possible. Or, they blame you for external complications like bad weather blocking deliveries. Sometimes, they just need to vent and you happen to be in the firing line.
Turning the Tables
Realize that many people find it difficult to deal with their emotions, but as a representative of your business, you’ll need to control yours. Sometimes being too defensive will only fuel their anger. It may be necessary to use your wits to turn the situation around. Let them finish what they need to say. Then, doing your best to remain neutral in tone and body language, let them know what you can do to rectify the situation.
Apologize if necessary, but don’t grovel or over-complicate your answer. Instead, give a solution that lets the customer know what can be done from this point. If possible, giving a choice, perhaps with two different options, can give their ego enough of a nudge to calm them down. For example, “I’m sorry about that, ma’am. I can either let you know when we have another one in stock or give you a full refund on that right now.”
Often, you may have to deal with someone who won’t take no for an answer. Do follow any reasonable requests to speak to management. But, if they still won’t calm down or listen to reason, just repeating what you can do is often an amazingly effective way of making them see reason. It’s tempting to mirror their irritation when they’re not listening to sense. But, it’s surprisingly easy to just keep repeating the possible solutions. “Ah, yes, I do understand, but what I can do is either…” They’ll be sure to run out of steam and accept your solution. Before you know it, they’ll be out of your hair.
It’s important to realize that there may be any number of things going on in their life. While it’s easy to assume they’re just a difficult jerk, you just don’t know what makes people so irrationally angry a lot of the time. By taking a measured and logical approach to your response, you can defuse and move on from the situation as quickly as possible. Doing so will improve your professional image and help you succeed in challenging situations such as these at work.