4 December 2021

5 Strategies for Dealing with Rude Customer

When was the last time you encountered an obstinate customer? Most likely, it was an external customer, but it could have been an internal customer as well, such as a member of your team, a colleague, or even your boss!

I’m sure you strive to deliver outstanding service to all of your clients, internal and external. In the actual world, though, things go wrong and errors are made. These “clients” frequently measure your level of service by your response to an error. If you do it correctly, they will likely forgive you and may even speak positively about your business or expertise to other people.

The critical point to remember when dealing with a dissatisfied customer, whether internal or external, is that you must first address their sentiments before addressing their issue. When you, your product, or service disappoints a consumer, they are likely to have strong feelings, and they will likely want to “dump” those feelings on you.

You cannot resolve their feelings just by focussing on solving the problem; this requires additional effort. Here are five action options that address the human needs of your customers:

1 – Don’t let them get to you – Remove yourself emotionally from the situation and focus exclusively on listening non-defensively and actively. Customers may make nasty and passionate remarks; avoid succumbing to the pressure.

2 – Listen – listen – listen – Make it appear and sound as if you’re listening. The customer wants to know that you genuinely care about them and are invested in solving their situation.

3 – Stop saying sorry – The word “sorry” has been overused; everyone uses it when something goes wrong, and it has lost its meaning. How frequently have you heard – “Sorry about that; provide me with the specifics and I’ll take care of this for you”? It is more preferable to say “I apologize for…” And if you absolutely must use the sorry word, make sure it is part of a complete phrase. “I apologize that you did not obtain the information as promised, Mr Smith.” (It’s also a good idea to address a problematic circumstance using the customer’s name.)

4 – Demonstrate Empathy – Demonstrating empathy is an excellent technique to deal with a customer’s emotions. Empathy is not about agreement; it is about acceptance of the customer’s words and feelings. The message is essential, “I understand how you feel.” Obviously, this must be a genuine response; if you are insincere, the customer will sense it and will feel patronized. Empathy responses include the following: “I understand why you’re furious,” or “I see what you’re saying.” Again, these reactions must be authentic.

5 – Establish rapport – Occasionally, it’s beneficial to supplement the empathy answer with another term that includes yourself. – “I understand how you feel; I, too, dislike being kept waiting.” This has the effect of putting yourself in the shoes of the customer and establishing rapport. Certain customer support representatives are concerned with this reaction because they feel it will result in the statement, “Why don’t you do something about it then?” The majority of people will not respond in this manner if they recognize you as a sensible and compassionate individual. If they do, continue empathizing and inform the consumer of your plans for resolving the matter. “I’ll report this to my management” or “I’ll do everything possible to prevent this from happening in the future.”

Without a doubt, clients, whether internal or external, are primarily motivated by their emotions. It is critical to employ human answers in all interactions, but especially when a customer is disturbed or furious. If clients like you and believe you care about them, they are more willing to accept your statements and forgive your errors.

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