Dealing with difficult customers

The following are points from a workshop held on problem solving at Encounter Bay Bowling Club on May 30, 2018.

The Difficult Customer

  • Remember to behave as if the customer is always right (even if they’re not)
  • Always acknowledge their problem
  • Utilise the people in your organisation who have the best skills to deal with customers
  • Ensure staff are trained in customer service
  • Keep a quiet voice even though inside you might be yelling
  • Address the problem not the emotions that may be trying to invade the situation
  • Ask the customer for a solution first
  • Offer a solution or, if you can’t offer one immediately, offer to investigate and get back to them promptly
  • Follow through to ensure the customer has a good outcome.  Ensure you have a contact number.
  • Let them run through everything first, don’t interrupt them.
  • If there’s a mistake that has been made be prepared to acknowledge it
  • Set boundaries – state them and reinforce them for safety reasons
  • Consider the safety risks of a difficult customer and prioritise safety of You, Staff & Customers
  • Take the customer out of the public eye and into a more private space to discuss the issue.
  • Try not to allow personal relationships to interfere with your business decisions
  • “You get more with honey than you do with pepper”
  • Consider that sometimes people become difficult customers for reasons totally out of your control, eg their personal health
  • Ensure your conditions of purchase etc are clearly stated
  • Stick to facts, avoid emotion with difficult personalities
  • “Sometimes customers just want to be heard”.
  • Always show empathy!
  • Don’t take it personally
  • Think before you speak
  • Assertiveness as opposed to anger!
  • Listen – give them time to explain
  • Remember two wrongs don’t make a right
  • Keep calm
  • Take time out to calm down
  • A seemingly difficult customer who has had their issue address can often be your best advocate