Creative Nomads

How to Transform Difficult Customers Into Happy Ones

Customers carve the best route to your business success. No matter how long you are in your industry, they will remain the center of your business.

In the 2022 report of Fortune Business Insights, customer experience management worldwide amounts to $11.34 billion. Not only is it costly, but challenging. You have to deal with many people who are often difficult and hard to please.

Since we’re in the service based industry, professionalism will be the best partner. So, how do we deal with demanding customers?

Why should you deal with a demanding customer?

Difficult customers do not necessarily mean angry customers. In some situations, these customers are only confused and looking for answers.

Dealing with difficult customers is vital because good customer service will help you retain customers. You’re making a positive outcome out of a negative situation. Thus, you prove to these customers the value you give them as well as the service that you desire to give.

8 Tips on How to Deal With Difficult Customers

1. Don’t get defensive

Let’s face it, this is a natural response. However, being defensive often escalates the situation and creates an adverse scenario.

One alternative solution to getting defensive is a technique known as the zen mind. It is best known as the beginner’s mind, is an approach to treating every situation as a beginner. This strategy means you’re entering the situation with the “don’t know” mind. It lets you avoid prejudging the customer.

To tap into this, you must strip away your thoughts of what the customer should’ve done. When you think of these “shoulds,” you become defensive and threaten the situation’s progress.

Avoid these risky phrases:

“You should’ve done this and that.”
“That’s not our responsibility.”
“That’s wrong.”
“I won’t believe that happened. I know my staff better.”
“You shouldn’t have done that.”

Here’s how you do it better:

“If I got it right, our staff assured you the product would be ready before the 25th of this month?”
“It seems like we have failed to relay the updates.”
“Alright, thank you for raising this concern. I’ll see what we can do with your current situation.”

2. Listen intently

When receiving a customer’s concern, the golden rule is to wait until they finish talking. Don’t interrupt them. Cutting them off before they finish tells the customer that you’re not interested in them and what they desire.

You can try adding these affirmations to demonstrate your active listening:

“I understand your current situation.”
“Yes, I am with you.”
“That makes sense.”
“I get what you are saying.”

3. Acknowledge

Just like how therapists acknowledge the emotions of their clients, do the same to your customers. You can make them feel heard. You may not be able to solve their current conflict, but you can offer your complete attention.

Refrain from letting things pass through your ears. Acknowledging does not happen after you nod your head yes. You have to get what they mean and analyze the situation to identify the course of action you need to take.

Here are some ways you can use to acknowledge their situation:

“I’m sorry you’re experiencing this.”
“We understand the frustration of having to go through this. We’ll immediately raise this concern to our team.”
“You’re right.”

4. Remain calm

When you encounter difficult customers, it’s undeniable that they can cross boundaries- frustrating, I know. So you must pent up your emotions and do everything to maintain calmness.

Take a deep breath, releasing the bad energy. Remind them that you are there to help and solve the situation. Or, to calm them and ease their anger, you can say, “Don’t worry. I’m here to help you.”

5. Utilize your support

Put in mind that you need help in dealing with difficult customers. You can always ask for a backup or assistance.

There are tricks you can do whether you’re receiving them through chat, call, or in person. It’s a case-to-case basis most of the time, but here are some things you can do:

Refer and ask your colleague for additional information. It will establish customer connections and build trust in a doubtful customer.
You can place them on hold during a call. Use this time to de-escalate both of your emotions. You can also use this to think about an appropriate response.
You can use a recording or set up a screen share to demonstrate how to solve the situation.

6. Simplify

The conflict itself is already overwhelming for your customer. Please don’t add more by being too technical and using terms they’re not familiar with.

Walk them through a roadmap. It will include your immediate action plan, the scenario after, and when your customer can expect the results. For example, let’s say the issue is solvable immediately through you, then explain that you’ll process it immediately and give them a call once through.

7. Solve

You can proceed to the necessary steps after your first call or interaction. When solving the situation, sort them out based on priority. Solve what’s more urgent first.

When solutions are not available, find ways and explore. For example, let’s say your customer asks for a refund, but a refund is not an option. You can think of other options and explain the situation. This demonstrates that you’re putting effort into solving their problem.

8. Follow up

Always follow up. It will ensure that the issue is resolved and establish rapport.

Final Point

Customers can be as patient and understanding as you or angry, demanding, and confused. While you can interact with them at different places and times, these remain the same: they need help and want to feel valued.

In truth, effective customer service results in customer retention. So continue to draw them closer to your brand, and let them realize that no brand is perfect, but you’re doing your best to make things right.

We’re here to partner with you in avoiding some difficult situations by creating digital platforms that reduce friction and create better user experiences.

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About the Author

Jason Rutel is the founder of Creative Nomads, a dynamic agency centered on enriching donor engagement for nonprofits and global missions organizations. With an impressive track record in web design, videography, and branding, Jason brings innovative communication strategies that drive mission-focused initiatives.

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