When you run an online business or you simply have customers who are contacting you using the Internet, you are bound to encounter some difficult clients. Therefore, learning how to deal with them is an important aspect of running a modern company, and one which is overlooked at your peril.
Of course, every individual company has its own way of handling complaints, but there are some general rules that can help you out when it comes to dealing with difficult customers online.
Online customer service can prove to be a particular challenge as people are willing to say things that they would never have said in person. However, you need to remember that they are often just venting their unhappy feelings, so you still need to aim to offer a sense of empathy. By putting yourself in their shoes and showing that you acknowledge the difficult situation that they find themselves in, you offer an empathetic picture of your business to them.
Avoid Apportioning Blame
Even if there is a clear mistake that has been made by the customer, you should still try to avoid shifting all the blame onto their shoulders. Ultimately, this is not why they got in touch with your business in the first place and it is not going to help the situation. Even if the thing that occurred is the customer’s fault, you should still try to get around saying this directly.
Go the Extra Mile
The last impression that you want your customers to have of your business is one that comes from a position of anger. Therefore, you should make a special effort to go the extra mile to replace that negative image with a positive one. A free gift, discount code, or another simple gesture like this can go such a long way towards converting an angry customer to one who returns to your business with a happy mind. Often, your angriest client can become your biggest advocate if you have handled them the right way.
Be as Honest as Possible About Your Own Mistakes
Sometimes, angry customers are going to get in contact with your business with genuine grievances and a clear idea of things that you could have done better. When it is clear that the error has been on your own part, you should aim to be honest about your mistakes and tell the customers that this is something that you are looking to rectify at the earliest possible opportunity. In the meantime, you can thank them for highlighting it to you and offer some sort of reward.
Using a customer relationship management software (CRM) can be an ideal way to do this. What is a CRM? It’s way to keep in touch and communicate while also defining expectations for the future.