Wednesday, July 17, 2013

6 Ways to Deal With Challenging Customers

If you are an administrative assistant you have likely come across challenging customers before.  Some people like to call them “difficult customers” but I much prefer to say challenging customers because they are only difficult if you make them so.  There are going to be some customers that are more challenging than others but every one of them can be managed if you handle them correctly.

Here are some of the typical challenging customers that you might come across:
  • Angry customers
  • I-know-everything customers
  • Senior customers
  • Talkative customers
  • Customers with language barriers
  • Customers who don’t really know what they want
There are many other types and you’ve likely got more that you can add to the list (feel free to leave your experiences in the comments!).

So, the big question is – how do you deal with them?  How do you keep challenging customers from becoming difficult customers?

Here are a few tips:
  1. Know your limits – when you are starting to feel like you are about to lose control and say something you will regret or will get you fired find a reason to end the interaction or postpone it. 
  2. Act professionally at all times.  If you lose your professionalism they will notice and they will know that they are in control.
  3. Empathize.  Most often this is what people want.  They want someone to listen to them and be empathetic and understand the situation.
  4. Ask questions.  Find out what is really behind the root of the problem. It will help you to find a solution to their problem.
  5. Apologize if you/your company is at fault.
  6. Don’t argue.  It can be very easy to be pulled into an argument but remember that it takes two to argue.
Have you found other ways of dealing with challenging customers that were successful?  I’d love to hear about them so leave a comment!

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