Oh the weather outside is frightful and so are some of your customers at this time of year. I don’t know what it is, but the holiday season seems to bring out the worst in some people. Difficult customers tend to take out their stress on those of us who are working hard and trying to do our best to deliver quality customer service. Most get don’t make it easy for us.
I felt particularly bad the other day as I was standing in line at the paint store waiting to ask a question of the lone cashier who was helping a customer choose a color for her master bedroom. I was third in line and the woman ahead of me was noisily tapping her foot and asking me why there couldn’t be more help available? This was all within earshot of the cashier who was becoming noticeably more nervous. I felt bad for the customer she was trying to help.
As a manager and supervisor, it’s important to train your staff to go with the flow when times get tense, and at this time of year- we’re off the charts when it comes to tension.
At your weekly staff meetings or at your morning staff kick off meetings, be sure to remind your employees of the following four important ways to survive the sometimes not so happy holiday season:
- Remember…don’t take it personally. A difficult customer is not mad at you, they are angry with whatever is getting in the way of them getting what they want – and what’s getting in the way may have nothing to do with your transaction with them.
- Fully listen to what the customer needs. Do your best to understand how you can help them.
- Promise that you are there to help them, even if helping them means getting your manager involved.
- Sincerely apologize. Even though you did nothing wrong to incite the customer, an apology goes a long way to calming someone down.
Most importantly, be there for your staff at this time of year. They need your help and support.
How do you teach your staff to handle difficult customers at this time of year?
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