This is a revisiting and updating of an old post written way back in 2012, 7 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Customers. I know this will help you in those tough customer service situations so you look like a total pro and feel like a confident rockstar.
Whenever you’re dealing with an upset customer, or actually even anyone upset with you in your life, this system should be your go-to. Just relax and follow the steps. You’ll be through to the other side of this situation in no time.
Oxygen is essential to keep your brain functioning top-notch to find the right words and the best solution. When you’re frustrated or stressed, you typically breathe strangely and your heart rate elevates, causing you to make rash decisions. But when you focus on your breath, it regulates and calms you. It gives you time to think. And then you are more likely to say the right thing.
Delay the confrontation, if you can. It’s not always possible, but even if you can give yourself 15 minutes or an hour (or a day!) you’re going to handle the situation better. Even if you’re on the telephone, calmly tell your customer that you need to look into the situation further and will call them back in the morning. (Make sure you follow through on whatever time frame you give them so that you don’t make the situation worse.) It’s amazing how much your attitude can change in a couple hours as you mull over a situation. And actually, it gives the other person the same amount of time to calm down a little.
You might find yourself getting angry, especially during your waiting stage. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that the best way to blow off steam is diving into your studio space. Grab your favorite art supplies, or at least a pencil and some copy paper, and lose yourself in your art.
If you can’t calm yourself down, grab a piece of paper or a Word doc and journal everything you’re feeling. When you’re done, rip up the paper or delete the file! It’s the most low-pressure way work through your emotions (because you know you’re going to destroy the evidence, including any feelings you wish you didn’t have) and regain control over your own attitude. Your most common language, one you’ve known since you were about a year old, is words. When nothing else is working, go back to words.
5 GO OUTSIDE.
Sunshine and fresh air are proven to relax and uplift our spirits. You’ll attack the problem with a positive outlook so you can really come to a fair resolution for you and your customer.
When you do return to the confrontation, no matter what, approach it with love and understanding. People aren’t out to get you. Most people really, truly aren’t trying to hurt you or cause trouble when they fight with you. Usually, the situation escalated because they didn’t expect the issue to arise and feel blindsided. Work hard to show them you care, that you understand why they are upset, and that you really want to fix things in a way that works for both your business and for them.
7 BE CONSISTENT.
A wise woman often says to recite “that’s never happening again” whenever you end up in a tough spot. You can’t avoid difficult situations in your business. But you can learn from them so that you don’t repeat history. Analyze the situation you just went through and figure out if there’s a policy or system you can put in place to prevent it from happening again.
Policies are one of my favorite things because they protect everyone so that the whole experience of working with other people is smooth, happy, and exciting. Post policies on your site and link to them in your purchase confirmation emails. Whenever a problem arises, take a peek at your policies and make sure you’re following them. Then if you want to change (or add to) your policies as a result of this problem, you can do that after you finish the current situation.