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Easy tips for dealing with difficult customer-situations

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Every now and then, every business, large and small, must deal with unhappy customers.

Even the best companies know there is truth to the old adage, “You can’t please everyone.”

While you can strive for 100 percent client satisfaction (and you should), most likely you’ll come across difficult, unpleasant customers.

Every case is different, but there are a few key things to keep in mind. Your primary goal is to defuse the tense situation and attempt to appease the customer, while sticking to your company’s policy as much as possible.

Some advice when you are on the front line:

<REMAIN CALM; NEVER ARGUE BACK

WITH A CUSTOMER

Don’t take the situation personally, even though it may feel that way.

Keep your voice low and keep speech at a slow, even rate. This will help remain control of how you are expressing yourself.

Demonstrating control is key with dealing with a demanding, difficult person. Be strong but respectful in the manner in which you speak.

<GENUINELY AND ACTIVELY LISTEN

It’s natural to want to tune out a difficult customer. No one likes to be scolded, argued with or yelled at.

It’s critical to remain professional and keep your composure, regardless of how unreasonable the customer is behaving.

Hear them out fully before responding, and resist interjecting and interrupting them.

<OFFER SUPPORT AND SYMPATHY

Odds are the customer has at least a somewhat valid reason for being upset. Don’t disregard the issue altogether because he or she is presenting it in an unreasonable manner.

Start by offering a sincere apology about the dissatisfaction with the service or product. Express that it’s not your company’s standard.

<GIVE THEM AS MANY OPTIONS AS POSSIBLE

Hopefully, you’ll be able to find a compromise and satisfy the customer by coming up with a couple of solutions.

However, don’t make empty promises. If you can’t help the customer or solve the problem yourself, promptly find someone who can.

<LET THEM ‘WIN’

When all else fails, it’s best to surrender. Sometimes, this is the only way to put an end to the confrontation.

But, it’s still a calculated move on your part.

What tends to happen is the customer will begin to relax and even take some blame for what went wrong. That’s a typical human reaction when one is allowed to “win.”

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The bottom line is to never treat any customer as expendable. His or her satisfaction and repeat business are critical to the success of any company.

Do all that you can to make the best of an unpleasant situation.

It’s what separates a good business, from a great business.

Murtaza Jaffer is the co-owner of EBC Printing in Trexlertown. He is a print/marketing materials solutions provider and can be reached at murtaza@ebclv.com.

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