ENTREPRENEURSHIP / JUN. 24, 2014
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How to Manage Extremely Difficult Customers

Handling customers is not as complex as many people make it seem. As long as you show a genuine interest in helping them, the majority of people you do business with won’t waste their time making your life frustrating just for the fun of it. Even the angry ones are easy to deal with.

However there is a small subset of unsatisfied customers that are a tough group to handle. These ones do not want their problems to be solved. They also relish the discomfort they pose to you even when you and your employees do everything to please them. Fortunately, even these customers can be handled professionally if you anticipate them, according to Logan Strain, who is a brand strategist. Logan Strain identifies the three of the most common types of painful customers and what you should do when you encounter them in the wild:

The “Unreasonable Demands.”

These customers want the moon and they want it for cheap. They insist that your competitors can deliver on their demands, when in reality no one can possibly give them what they want. Then they express exasperation that you aren’t willing to bankrupt your business in order to help them.

How to manage them?

Say that you truly wish you could give them what they want, but you simply don’t have the ability to give it to them. It also helps if you give these customers an easy way to return your product or cancel their service. For example, Instant Checkmate will help customers cancel memberships if they contact the company through its social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.

The “Just Wants To Vent. ”

Why pay a psychologist $150 an hour to listen to you vent when you can talk the ear off of a customer service rep for free? That seems to be the philosophy of people who deal with life’s problems by complaining to random businesses. They may have had a personal problem recently and deal with it by blowing a small matter way out of proportion. 

How to manage them?

Be empathetic and always redirect the customer to the business at hand. When you tell them what you’re doing to help them, it will remind them why they called or emailed in the first place.

The “Colorful Language User.”

Some people have a rare gift of gab, able to speak about what angers them with precise and eloquent language. Others, however, may resort to a more limited and more profane set of words whenever they try to communicate how ticked off they are. The "Colorful Language User" will let expletives fly with the ease and force of a sanitation truck expelling its contents. Maybe they’re trying to get a rise out of you. Maybe this is just how they talk when they’re angry. But in any case they make it difficult to pretend that they aren’t being pointlessly crass to you.

How to manage them?

Don’t meet their foul language with bad language of your own. Note that it sounds like they are very upset. If you are communicating on the phone, ask if you could communicate through a different medium such as email.

These difficult-to-please customers still matter to your business. Handling them and following through on the above tips will keep the reputation of your business even when you part ways with the customer. Have you had any strenuous issues with your clients? Please comment.

 

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