Customers are an integral part of your business. But what happens when a customer is difficult and demanding? The customer who will never be satisfied no matter how good the product is. The customer who will change their requirements along the way. Or the one who is withholding payments. Do you get the drift?
Such a customer will make you feel bad and lose the motivation you need to grow your business. How do you deal with this customer who has their arms crossed and gives one-word answers?
Before we get into the tips, first understand that the customer does not know have in-depth knowledge about your product, or your sales and marketing team sold the wrong idea to them. They may even be having professional or personal issues they are dealing with.
Tip 1: Keep Calm and Listen To Their Concerns
If a client is shouting at you and saying how irresponsible you are, simply calm down. In case you start throwing insults at each other it is your reputation that suffers.
Next, listen patiently as they air out their concerns and position yourself as the person with the solution to their problems. Give your client all the attention they need and refrain from offering a solution immediately. Active listening makes the customer feel valued and builds trust between the two of you.
Tip 2: Start the Troubleshooting Process Immediately
Feels awkward to be thanking someone for being difficult yet they probably did not understand the emails you sent. But appreciate your customer for voicing your concern and acknowledge their patience as you try to solve the issue.
For example, if you sell IT software and it malfunctions, the customer feels cheated off their money. Express that you need time to have the developers look into it. You could tell the customer “Thank you for agreeing to bear with us as we troubleshoot your software.”
Thereafter set timelines for the troubleshooting and ensure those deadlines are met. In case of any bumps down the road, communicate with your client.
It is simple yet effective.
Tip 3: Educate Your Customer
95% of the time, your client did not understand how you work. It is your duty to educate them. Ensure that all your clients understand your products or services, your work policy, and delivery timelines. This helps to manage their expectations and realign them with reality.
At the same time review your promises to clients and see if the information you are passing out is feasible. Are you passing off as the perfect entrepreneur with best-case scenarios only for you to under-deliver? Imagine a HR consultant who says they can fill a position within 24 hours then delivers two weeks later.
Such information is misleading. As you educate your customer, check yourself too.
Tip 4: Review And Learn
After you have solved the problems, evaluate the problem. Why did the problem come up? Who is to blame for the problem? Is there something that would have been done to prevent the problem from occurring? What can you do to prevent the problem from happening again?
A difficult client comes with a lesson, be sure you learn the lessons. Simple solutions such as changing your business structures or better communication could prevent a repeat problem.
Tip 5: Cut Your Losses And Move On
There will be clients who will not be satisfied and will keep demanding more and pay less. They may still be rude to you and your employees or tarnish your name online. Other customers will hold the adage “The customer is always right.” yet they are in the wrong and keep adding frustrations, extra expenses, fatigue, and stress in your life.
Don’t be afraid to cancel their contract. Your sanity as an entrepreneur is more important than the money they bring in. Be firm but respectful when doing this.
Tip 6: It’s Never Personal
Before you start a business, you have to put in mind that customers are not your friends. When the customer attacks you on a personal level, you will have to stick to the facts of the problem. That customer knows nothing about you and they are probably mirroring their insecurities towards you.
Be passive, patient, mindful, and ignore personal attacks.
Dealing with a difficult client does not mean that you have to change your whole business model. Demanding customers will drain your energy and money (in some cases) so take a proactive approach when handling the problems to prevent future headaches.