Calming the Storm: Handling Difficult Customers

A difficult customer can rattle even the most patient and composed employee. Learning how to effectively work through these somewhat exasperating interactions will give you the confidence and ability to resolve almost any issue.

Be mindful. Customers may be difficult to deal with for several reasons that have nothing to do with you. They may be upset because something was mishandled, frustrated about a delay in handling a request, impatient with the response time, or maybe they are simply having a bad day. You just happen to be the person standing in front of them at that time. We have all been there. Regardless of the reason he or she is upset, how you handle the situation can determine whether the customer remains a customer.

When a customer complains, look at it as an opportunity to improve. It’s not always easy to know what to say or how to handle customers who are upset, but here are four key steps to start with:

  1. Remain calm and composed—take a deep breath, smile, and then respond.
  2. Assure the customer you are here to help.
  3. Listen carefully with empathy.
  4. Stay positive, and don’t take it personally.

The next time you come face to face with a challenging customer—and you will—use these Core 4 steps to help gain and maintain control of the situation for a better resolution.

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