The key to developing an understanding of the customer is to find ways to appreciate them on their terms. Difficult customers can be a tough bunch to love and work with on a daily basis. They can be demanding and unreasonable on good days and downright nasty on others.
Ask anyone who works with the public and they will tell you how hard it can be most days. Talk to anyone in retail, personal services, home repair services, landscaping, food services, finance, etc. and they will tell you how incredibly hard it is to be consistently happy with a mind-set of service when some customers never seem to be satisfied.
We struggle to make our customers happy but no matter what we do, it never seems to be enough. Or is it?
There is a trick that I like to share in my customer service training sessions that focuses on handling difficult customers that I would love to share with all of you who are charged with the task of training, managing, motivating and coaching your employees.
The trick is a simple one and here it is:
[tweetthis]To get through an encounter with a difficult customer, focus on all of the nice customers you’ve had so far today. [/tweetthis]
That’s right. It’s as simple as focusing on all of the customer behaviors that have made for a better day so far for the employee. When you take the spotlight away from difficult customers, they lose their power over the effect they have on our interactions with others.
In your upcoming training sessions, ask your employees to consider all of the times today that customers have:
- bagged their own groceries or purchases
- asked for assistance in finding a product in your store, but declined having you walk them there
- offered pleasantries and verbal courtesies like, “Good Morning”, “Please” and “Thank you”
- understood when you are out of a product
- given you a large tip
- been patient
- been flexible with their schedules
- understood when you’ve had to cancel or reschedule an appointment
- treated you kindly because the customer right before them in line was nasty
- smiled, laughed with you, or shared an amusing story
When we focus on the good things our customers bring into our days and lives, it makes it so much easier to accept those times when difficult customers demand or require more from us. As managers, we need to remind our employees that working with the public isn’t all bad and that if we look for the small things our customers do for us, it makes each day a little lighter and each customer a little easier to accept.
How do you handle difficult customers?
We always read and appreciate your thoughtful comments! Please share this post with others who might benefit – we love it when you do!