Can we take this opportunity to have a frank discussion about “the customer“? The truth is, not all customers are lovable. Some customers aren’t even likable. So how do we take a group of people that we don’t like very much and turn them into our most loyal followers? It’s not easy but it is possible and if you’re successful, this challenging group of customers could be your biggest advocates.
Market Viewpoint surveyed some of our clients to see how they manage to turn challenging customer relationships into long-lasting loyalty. Here’s what some of our clients had to say:
- Kill ’em with kindness – always greet them with a smile and a great big “hello!” All customers appreciate compassion and understanding,
- Give difficult customers a little something extra – difficult personalities can be taken off balance when they get something they weren’t expecting especially if they were anticipating and argument from you,
- Truly listen to difficult customers. They can be a source of ideas and catalysts for change in your organization,
- Communicate with difficult customers often and early. Keep them in the problem solving loop, and keep them appraised of the solutions you intend to implement,
- Have difficult customers test your new products and services. They’ll feel honored that you value their opinion. Think of them as a mini focus group!
Difficult customers don’t have to ruin your day and avoiding them is not the answer. Difficult customers can offer insights, assurances, and guarantees that your organization is moving in the right direction. Encourage their feedback and engage them in providing solutions to the things they see as trouble spots in your operations.
So the next time you see Belligerent Bill, Complaining Carol, Wacky Walter, or Angry Andy approaching, take a deep breath and know that the next great idea for your business might be a customer conversation away!
How do you manage challenging customers in your business? Tell us your secrets!