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Difficult Customers - Theres No Such Thing


A couple of years ago I had a call from a Customer ServiceManager working in the paper industry. He wanted me to run aseminar for his team, on "How to Deal with DifficultCustomers".

I had several telephone conversations with this managerorganising dates, times and getting to understand hisbusiness. If I was to describe his style on the telephone Iwould use words like, businesslike, cold, curt and somewhatimpatient. I started to realise that if I was one of hiscustomers then I might have been a bit "difficult". Hecertainly knew his business and I don't think he was a badperson but warm and friendly - forget it.

There are actually very few genuinely difficult customers inthe world. And I hear you say - "we've got all of them".However the majority of customers in the world arereasonable people. They may not think the way, look the way,sound the way that you do. However they are your customersand if you want their business then you've got to deal withthem. They may get "difficult" from time to time if theyfeel they've been let down. It's how you handle them that'lldetermine if they continue to be a problem or if you canturn them around.

Difficult customers and situations usually occur becausesome part of our core service has failed or the customerperceives it to have failed. We've not delivered on time,the customer has the wrong product, it doesn't work or it'snot what the customer expected.What happens then is, the customer comes to the interactionwith us in a negative frame of mind. It's what happens thenthat'll decide whether they deal with us again or bad mouthus to other people.

The trick is not just to concentrate on fixing the coreservice issues. Telling the customer that you'll replace the product, deliver it in half an hour orknock something off the price, isn't theanswer. Sometimes you may not have an answer and thecustomer is going to hear "NO". However as you're aware,it's how you say "NO" that matters. Let's consider some ofthe reasons customer interactions go wrong and why they maybecome more "difficult".

* We don't care. - We don't sound or look as if we care, areconcerned or appreciate the customer's situation. Maybe youdo care, however you've really got to say caring words andlook and sound as if you care. After all, the customer can'tread your mind.

* We don't listen. - Too often we try to jump in withsolutions and don't allow the customer to vent theirfeelings. Again we need to show the customer that we'relistening by what we say, how we say it and our bodylanguage.

* We let the customer "get to us". We often allow thecustomers attitude to irritate or annoy us. This becomesobvious to the customer, again through our tone of voice,our body language and only fuels a difficult situation.

* We use the wrong words. - There are certain trigger wordsthat cause a customer to become more difficult. Some ofthese are "cant, have to, sorry 'bout that". Even yourorganisation's jargon can have a negative effect on acustomer interaction.

* We don't see it from the customer's point of view. - Toooften customer service people think the customer is makingtoo much of a fuss. They think - "What's the big deal, we'llfix it right away". The thing is, it is a big deal for thecustomer and they want us to appreciate that.

Customers will often judge the level of your service basedon howwell you recover from a difficult situation and they're verylikely to forgive you if you do it well.

Discover how you can generate more business without havingto cold call!Alan Fairweather is the author of "How to get More Saleswithout Selling" This book is packed with practical thingsthat you can do to - get customers to come to you . Click here nowhttp://www.howtogetmoresales.com/Without%20Selling.htm


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