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How Would You Handle A Difficult Customer?

How Would You Handle a Difficult Customer?

The question: how would you handle a difficult customer? is frequently asked.  Every service and sales professional faces the same dilemma on a daily basis whether customers contact them via telephone, walk in to their establishment, or correspond in writing.

It is not driven by malice or deceit. Most often it is simply the natural progression of the sales and service process. Your transaction is moving ahead smoothly when the customer stops to ask a question about the product, service or company policies. Then anxiety builds up inside.

You would prefer to say Yes, or Certainly, our product can do that, or I can ship it today. But you will not utter any of those phrases today because you must speak the truth. And the truthful answers are No, or I am sorry, but our product does not do that, or I can not ship it today.

The quandary of which I write is about saying no – the right way.

The concept of knowing how to say No begins with an adherence to the fundamental principle of saying what you can do rather than what you can not do.

How Would You Handle a Difficult Customer?

Saying No might make you feel unpopular or appear like a killjoy. Conveying seemingly bad news to someone else might bring to an end all of the goodwill that you have been creating while attempting to negotiate a sale or provide a service.

Regardless of how a service professional might feel personally about having to say No to a customer, sometimes the answer must be No.

What separates the seasoned professionals from amateurs in the sales and service business is the manner in which saying No is conveyed.

how would you handle a difficult customer

The concept of knowing how to say No begins with an adherence to the fundamental principle of saying what you can do rather than what you can not do.

When a service professional conveys what they can do, it keeps the proverbial door open so that the dialogue with the customer so that they may continue with their business relationship.

However, when a service professional resorts to what he can not do, it threatens to limit future dialogue as well a business relationship.

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What separates the seasoned professionals from amateurs in the sales and service business is the manner in which saying No is conveyed.

One of my clients has, with a simple phrase, heightened their service vernacular and the satisfaction of their customers. That phrase is: Here’s what I can do.

This axiom is posted in the workstation of each of their customer service representatives, to keep it at the forefront of their mind. It produces two key benefits: (1) it keeps the door open and, (2) it gives the service representative something to say while he thinks creatively about how to respond to customer demands.

When it comes to keeping customers satisfied and the door of business opportunities open, a little time may make all the difference.  And this will help when someone asks: how would you handle a difficult customer?

how would you handle a difficult customer

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Steve Coscia

The road from professional musician to thirty-year customer service veteran to best-selling author and speaker is not a typical career path, but Steve Coscia may have started a new trend.

Coscia is one of the most widely published and quoted authorities in the customer service industry. He has published more than 200 articles, four books and a series of training DVDs. His college curriculum is taught at institutions of higher learning throughout the United States and Canada.

This Post Has One Comment
  1. Hi Steve! I shared this article with James Woodruff since he still has a difficult time saying “no” to his customers. I told Gary what I did and he’s interested in reading the article. Since he’s not on Facebook, is there a way I can e-mail it to him?? Let me know when you have a minute.
    Thanks!
    Karen

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