5 Guidelines to Communicating With Difficult Clients
The occasional difficult clients and customers are a part of business that will never go away. Every business has them. The only control you have is how you react and address tense situations. Below are a few solid ways to keep the path smooth and business moving forward.
1. Touch Base Frequently
A lack of communication is a setup for disaster in the world of business. It is important to call and greet your clients as often as possible to keep them updated on the business at hand. It lets them know their business is important to you and your company or firm. It is estimated that as many as 44% of US customers and clients switch to a competitor following what they feel is poor customer service treatment. Always keep your clients in the loop.
2. Listen More, Speak Less
There are times we all need to vent, but why does it feel difficult clients pick the most inopportune times? As difficult as it may seem, set aside any activities and thoughts you have rolling through your head and truly listen to what the client is complaining about. Give them good eye contact and listen attentively so that they feel their voice is being heard. Huffington Post points out that only 1 out of 6 unhappy clients will tell you. The rest will walk away and find someone else to do business with.
3. Be Honest and Admit When You Are Wrong
There is no way to be right all the time, nor is there any way to avoid making a mistake now and again. Being imperfect is normal, but being able to admit it, even to the pickiest of clients,is the best business skill you can develop. These are generally the types of clients that look at anything less as being an excuse. Do not be afraid to admit when you are wrong, but be honest when you feel you have conducted business in an upright manner. The most important point is to not be rude or condescending, but state your position clearly and with authority.
4. Never Lash Out
Everyone has a bad day. It makes it seem worse when you have a difficult client coming at you for any type of reason. The worst thing you can do is to let pent up anger over the course of the day build to a point that you lash out at a client. All of the apologies in the world may not be able to rectify the situation. Always stick with an abundance of kindness and understanding. Reschedule appointments if needed on your bad days and find a release for a buildup of emotional energy that seems negative in nature. Take a walk, exercise or listen to some calming music.
5. Stay On Top of Every Detail
Nothing makes a client feel more nervous than the professional they have entrusted not being able to give them specific feedback about the case at hand. Missing the details can make you look inept at what you do. There is specialized case management software CMS available that can help you keep track of things like:
- Meeting times and places
- Present and past conflicts
- Conflict resolutions that worked
- Daily business updates
- Goal planning
It is critical that you and your clients remain on the same page at all times. Having this type of software allows you to see at a glance exactly what information your client needs updated with at any given moment. It also makes it easier for support staff to answer simple questions for a client when you are unavailable. Giving a difficult client the best in customer service experiences can make all the difference in how smooth business operates. Understand you are not alone in a world full of clients that at times can seem very demanding. Always answer to difficulties with the most positive outcome in mind.
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