Professional customer service is an important aspect of doing well in the business world. Whether you are a customer service representative, freelance marketing consultant, bank teller, cashier or CEO of a company, you need to learn how to hold it together while dealing with clients, especially the rude ones. It is a given that you will eventually have to deal with rude clients. The question is: how will you react and can you keep it together so that you don’t negatively affect your business or employment?.
One example of how not to deal with a customer is detailed at Penny-Arcade.com. An owner of a marketing company flew off the handle and had a negative exchange with a customer. The owner ended up not only losing his cool, but also a major marketing deal. In the process, his company’s reputation was also destroyed. Once something negative like that happens, it is a long road to recovery of your company’s reputation.
Steps to Take While Dealing with a Rude Client
# 1 Exhibit Professionalism and Respect
The worst thing you can do while dealing with a rude client is to stoop to their level of rudeness. Don’t get angry and lose your temper. You need to maintain control of the conversation and try to redirect it back to the issue at hand. Don’t allow the customer’s ranting or insults to negatively affect your attitude. Be patient and allow the customer to vent. Usually once the customer has had a chance to share his or her frustrations, the issue can be discussed and resolved in a calm manner.
# 2 Listen and Restate the Issue
Be sure to hone in on your listening skills and don’t zone out while the customer is ranting. Even during that time, you should be able to pick up some important information about the issue. If you can practice listening carefully, you will be less likely to take the brunt of the verbal assault personally and you’ll be able to more readily resolve the issue. Make sure to restate the issue to the customer so that he or she knows you actually understand the problem. This also allows the customer the opportunity to relax and know that you have taken the time to pay attention while they spoke.
# 3 Work to Find a Solution
Many times, the solution to the problem is a simple one. The situation has only been exacerbated by the frustration of the customer. However, there are other times when the solution may take some work on your part to resolve. Whichever situation is the case, continue to maintain a calm and professional attitude. Remember to never patronise the customer. That is one quick way to lose the customer’s business. If the solution is a simple one, don’t be patronising in how you suggest it.
# 4 Follow Up with the Customer
If you had to provide other resources, was this able to resolve the problem? The customer will appreciate that you took the time to ascertain whether or not the outcome was satisfactory. If you are not able to speak directly to the customer, sending a follow up email or leaving a voicemail will be appreciated. It is highly probable that professional follow up like this will create good will with the customer and this person will continue to do business with you and your company.
Steps to Take to Keep your Cool
The aforementioned steps will assist you in learning how to professionally deal with rude clients. However, you also need to take care of yourself in order to have the strength and ability to pour out into your customers’ lives. You need to get personal with yourself here. Learn how to decompress and manage your stress level.
- Take breaks throughout the day during your allotted time.
- Take your full lunch hour and use it as a way to refresh yourself.
- Speak to your manager if the stress level has become too high.
- Take a personal day every now and then and totally decompress.
- Don’t take your work home with you. Enjoy your personal life.
- Find a work buddy to support and encourage you.
- Take a yoga class and practice relaxation breathing techniques.
- Post inspirational signs in your office or cubicle which inspire you.
- Find a recreational activity that allows you to let out your frustrations.
- If permitted, listen to relaxing music that you like during the day.
Dealing with customers is always a tricky business. You need to maintain a professional yet friendly attitude at all times. However, not everyone is emotionally equipped to maintain such a consistent standard of excellence. We’re all human after all. So remember to exhibit professionalism and respect. Listen carefully so that the customer knows that you are actually hearing what he or she has to say. Work to find a solution and be good at customer follow up.
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