We’ve all had those difficult clients that are hard to please but are very necessary to keep business afloat. Over the years I’ve found the problem is not the clients and their unhappiness; it’s our reaction to the problem which either enhances or decreases its influence on our business.
Here are some key tips to help create a comfortable medium with clients
1. Listen. Let the customer vent. Remember, it’s not about you; it’s about your business, service or product and how you can create the most value for your customers’. Give the customer a chance to say what they want to say, so long as it is respectful. If the customer becomes vulgar while venting then let the customer know you’d be happy to discuss the issue once they are able to speak without using vulgar or harmful language.
2. Be forthright. Believe it or not, it is possible that someone in your organization (including yourself) has made a mistake. Admit to it, apologize and ask how you can fix it. Give the customer the opportunity to digest and allow them time to vent and offer a suggestion. Putting the ball in the customers’ court shows that you are willing to listen and you value their input. Your customers are important and their concerns are important as well; treat them as such.
3. Give reassurance. Reassuring the customer is critical in letting the customer know that not only have you heard and are considerate of their position, you will do whatever possible to ensure the issue is addressed.
4. Respond with courtesy. This may be elementary advice to most; however it is easy to become defensive when you are feeling attacked. Keep in mind that the first response to an unhappy customer is the most crucial and can be the most emotional. Remember, it’s not about you; it’s about your business, service or product.
5. Keep your promises. If you say you are going to call the customer back with an update, then do so. Set a reminder while you are speaking with the customer or immediately thereafter to avoid the human possibility of forgetting. Believe me, if you give an irate customer a time or date of when you will follow-up, rest assured they are marking their calendars and watching the clock. You may not have a resolution to the problem, but simply keeping your word carries a lot of weight. Reach out to the customer regardless of whether the news is good or not. This creates a trusting atmosphere and eases the wound.
Now keep in mind, there are some people who you simply cannot please and you may lose as clients; however the attempt to satisfy the customer must always remain a priority.
Mary V. Davids is Principal Consultant at D&M Consulting Services, LLC., and creator of the Honest Model™. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing workplace performance, career coaching, leadership coaching and training & development. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. To connect with Mary, you can follow her on twitter @MVDavids or you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org