7 Ways To Handle Difficult Customer Base

Helen Jackby:


Angry, unhappy, dissatisfied, anxious, impatient, indecisive, nagging, overly demanding… The difficult customer base comes in different faces, voices, and moods, but what they have in common is that they can either break or make your business – depending on how well you deal with their problems. Providing excellent customer care is what sets you apart from your rivals and helps build lasting relationships with your customers. There are lots of things you can save on while running a business. For example, you can create your own business website free. Still, when it comes to customer care, you can’t be too careful. Here are some key tips that will help you build effective, sympathetic, and simply sensational customer care.

customer base

1. Listen 

It seems to be a no-brainer, but to help your customer base, first, you need to listen to them and do it without interrupting. Reflective listening enables you to establish a better connection with the customer. You listen carefully to the customer and reflect their feelings and thoughts to them by rephrasing their point and asking if you got them right. If not, ask further questions until you catch the pain point. Pay attention to their body language as well. This approach shows the customer that you really understand what they feel and helps them feel heard. 

2. React With Empathy

Imagine that your customer is angry, and they are yelling at you. Our natural reaction would be anger or defense, but neither of them is acceptable in customer care. The only appropriate emotion here is empathy. Join their side. Phrases like “Oh dear, now I see why you are upset” or “That’s not what you were looking for” go a long way.

3. Have The Right State Of Mind

Being empathetic and courteous doesn’t mean pleasing or yielding to the customer’s mood. Do not let angry customers see that they can get to you. When attacked, take a deep breath, calm down, and try to talk to them in a professional manner letting them feel that you are in charge, not they. Another great piece of advice is not to take it personally. After all, the customer is angry not at you but at the situation.

4. Watch Your Verbal And Non-Verbal Signals

Wrong words or body language can only escalate the conflict. Avoid impatience, interrupting, and defensive gestures such as folded arms or closed fists as well as sighing, rolling your eyes, or simply looking bored. Make sure you courteously speak to the customer and interact with friendly facial expressions and gestures such as smile, eye contact, nodding, taking notes, etc. Regardless of what you feel, you must radiate respect with your whole body.

5. Mitigate The Conflict

customer base

If an angry customer makes a scene right on the sales floor, you should be extra tactful and cautious. Other shoppers are watching and can even record the incident and publish it on their social media. Try to settle the angry customer down by lowering your voice and speaking slowly. Pretend you are talking not just to this angry customer but to other customers who are watching the conflict. This trick will help you keep your emotions in check and find better words. At last, if possible, quickly and politely remove the angry customer from the area where other shoppers can hear you.

6. Be Honest

Once you heard the customer’s story, say you are sorry that they have had such a bad experience. Even if you aren’t sure whose fault it is, an apology goes a long way. Then honestly tell them what you can and what you can’t do in this situation. Avoid these two extremes – promising to do something you can’t do and saying there’s nothing you can do to help. You can always do at least something – to make them feel valued and respected. 

7. Resolve The Issue ASAP

Fixing the issue immediately not only prevents the conflict from escalating, but also helps turn a negative experience into a positive one and win back the customer’s loyalty. If your customer complains about bad service or anything else, give them compensation to make up for the mistake. It can be a free item, a coupon, a discount, or anything depending on what you have at hand. 

Dealing with unhappy customers isn’t easy, but if you do it right, your most difficult customer base can become your most loyal ones.

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