Once in a while you’re going to run across a customer that is just mean. They make demands that aren’t reasonable and you feel as if you’ve lost control. It’s very easy to react the same way as the customer when things escalate, but you can respond with some thought and turn it around. And if you can’t, you can always cut them loose.
Relax and Keep Calm
The first thing you must do when dealing with a customer that is not reasonable is to remain calm. You can’t sink to their level and get emotional and say things you will regret later. You have to remember that with most rude customers they just want their problem solved, and if you can’t do it, they want someone else to do it. Keep your tone of voice measured and light, no matter what is happening.
Cut Them Loose
If there is no way around it, you can refund their money and cut them loose. Not everyone is supposed to be your customer, and that’s perfectly okay. If you go into the discussion knowing that the worst thing that can happen is that you give them their money back and they go on their way, it’ll be easier to keep your cool.
When you are reactive you have a risk of allowing emotion to get the better of you. Instead, always go into any discussion with a difficult customer with a plan of action so that you can be proactive instead of reactive. You can’t control them, only yourself. Remember that their attitude is about them, not you, and that should help you.
Choose Your Battles
Some things aren’t worth fighting about. Try to listen through the bad language or overwrought behavior, to the crux of the problem. What will solve the problem the fastest and easiest? Don’t include the emotions of the matter; only include the actual solution to the problem. If the person is still unreasonable when you offer the solution, it is probably time to cut them loose.
Separate the Issue from the Person
It’s so easy to put any issue on the person complaining, especially if they’re very loud. But, the truth is the issue is not the person. If you can narrow down the issue to the meat of the matter, you’re going to do better to speak through the demands and do something that makes both people happy.
Put the Ball in Their Court
When someone keeps complaining to you about you, the best thing you can do is turn it on them. “I’m sorry you feel that way, sir, would you like an immediate refund? I can give you one and remove you from my customer database if you’d like. Let me know what you’d like to do.”
Turn to Humor
Sometimes you can defuse the situation with humor. This is more risky, so don’t do anything off color or something that might make someone angry. But, when someone is being super-demanding and you can find a way to make it funny, then that is a great way to stop the anger in its track.
Don’t Be Bullied
Everything is great to try, but never allow yourself to be bullied. If you have given it everything you have, just refund their money and send them on their way. Some people cannot ever be satisfied no matter what you do. They don’t even really want to be satisfied, because they get some sort of payoff for their behavior. Remove the payoff.
When you start working with people more and making more sales, you’re eventually going to have to respond to an unreasonable customer. It’s just part of doing business. But, if you can follow these tips you’re going to be on the right track to defusing the problem.