|1. Empathize with their problems and concerns Most customers want to feel heard and understood. Especially in cases where you can do little to solve their problem now, customers want to know that you are in their corner, and willing to work with them and on their behalf. Equally important is that you understand their problem correctly, before you present possible solutions which can help them.
2. Get your customers involved in any possible solution you propose If you solicit your customers for possible answers to their problems, not only is it more likely that they will come up with a solution which is acceptable to them, it is also more likely that they will choose a method of resolution which works in your business’ favor. Perhaps the real benefit is that if a customer is unreasonable about proposing a solution, then you have some idea of how far apart the two of you are in working out the problem. If your customer is too unreasonable, then it may be best to simply wish them well, and let them go to the competition instead of trying to win a losing battle.
3. Go beyond what is expected While you do not want to reward customers for being difficult, they nevertheless are doing your business a great favor by providing it with the chance to improve. So, when these customers return (and are less difficult) in the future, you should strive to do more for them, to help secure their loyalty and thank them for their patience. If their complaints have prevented you from losing one other customer, then a small thank you gift can be more than worth the small initial cost outlay. On the other hand, if these customers are the type who are habitually difficult, then that may be a sign that your business is not the right one for them to be frequenting.
In short, when you empathize with your customers’ difficulties, make them part of any solution you develop, and go beyond customer expectations, it is much easier to deal with the most difficult customers. This allows you to spend less time and effort resolving their issues, so you can devote time instead to the other pressing problems in your business.
Copyright 2010, by Marc Mays
Marc Mays is the creator of http://www.myplatinumparachute.com/, which helps first-time small business owners obtain the critical skills needed for their small business success.
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