Customer satisfaction is important to businesses and as an SME, customer service can be your source of growth and zero dollar marketing. The advantages of customer satisfaction are endless that is why you have to learn to deal with difficult customers.
Customer satisfaction can lead to positive word of mouth, which is essential for repeat business, organic increase in sales, brand awareness and publicity.
Across various industries, customers have proven to be fairly easy to work with provided their needs and wants are put into consideration and services are provided in accordance to request.
However, a minority, placed at about 5 to 10% by experts, qualify as difficult. This might seem a small number but considering the amount of business energy and valuable time required to please these set of consumer, the work for SMEs customer care representative can be overwhelming.
Though as an SME, you have to strive to please everyone, but it is important to note that you can’t please all the customers no matter how much time you invest in delivering good customer service.
You will definitely encounter customers who are troublesome and difficult to satisfy; customers with heightened expectations to a rather lovely person having a rough day, the key is to diffuse the tension while making the best of the situation.
How To Deal With a Difficult Customer in Nigeria
Here are 3 easy steps to deal with difficult customers
1. Determine the Legitimacy of Customer Complaint
“Many ‘bad’ customers are the result of a bad situation,” stated Jenny McCune in Nation’s Business. A poorly run business has a greater chance of encountering a lot of the so-called “difficult” customers than a business that is efficient and dedicated to customer service.
You want to quickly determine the legitimacy of the complaint. The customer should have a full uninterrupted opportunity to express grievance. It is best to let the customer explain the reasons for his/her dissatisfaction freely without interruption.
2. Determine Possible Steps to Mollify Client’s Concerns
Regardless of its legitimacy, take the necessary steps to pacify the customer, at this point be advised not to take it personal but seek ways of redress in order to maintain the relationship.
Refrain from argument and blame game. Quickly ascertain solutions, move forward, and take advantage to improve on difficult customer interaction while resolving the problem in a mutually satisfying manner.
The steam is most likely to diffuse when the customer sense your swiftness in resolving the matter. In addition to apologies, preventive measures and proactive arrangements should be put in place to avoid re-occurrence.
3. Decide Whether the Customer’s Value is Sufficient to Warrant Continuance of Service
In cases where the customer is being unreasonable, and has been a recurrent complainer lacking legitimate claims and unlikely to change their stripes, then decision is to be made whether their business is worth the aggravation.
These factors should be considered before taking the decision:
IMPACT ON BUSINESS
This is about the most important consideration in weighing whether to continue doing business with a difficult customer or not.
Is the customer a major client?
How difficult would it be to replace the revenue from that client?
Is the client a major opinion-shaper in the industry in which your company operates?
Whatever the case, as a business owner, you should do your best to end the relationship as civilly as possible.
“It is impossible to please unreasonable or marginal customers on all occasions, and it’s best to consider leaving them to other vendors, it’s far better to expend your efforts in further satisfying already satisfied accounts. The return on investment is almost always far greater” – Jack Falvey in Sales and Marketing Management.
IMPACT ON STAFF
Abusive treatment of staff at the hands of clients can lead to low morale and performance as few things make an employee unhappy as much as having to regularly deal with unpleasant customers.
Unhappy employees are far more likely to secure employment elsewhere than those that are content.
In some instances there may be reasons for difficult behavior exhibited by difficult customers that may not be immediately apparent. “Most difficult customer situations are complicated by all kinds of subjective judgments and seemingly mitigating circumstances,” says Falvey.
Business owners should take the time to figure out why the customer has suddenly become problematic, by so doing, it’s easy to devise a strategy to repair the relationship rather than end it.
With the above easy steps, dealing with a difficult customer becomes much easy to handle and everyone is happy.
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