The customer is always right. Or so they say. In order to grow your business, you need to be able to deal with difficult customers. However, dealing with them isn’t always easy. Especially if you have a type A personality and don’t like people questioning your decisions or dictating how you run your business. Most small businesses can’t handle difficult customers well enough for it not to affect their bottom line and growth rate negatively in the long term.
Below are a few things that every business owner should know about dealing with difficult customers so that they become easier to handle in the future.
Be genuine and caring.
First and foremost, show your customers that you have their best interest at heart. If they feel like you only care about the bottom line, you’ll never get anywhere and your business will never be able to grow. Show them that you really do care about them and that you are willing to work with them in order to make a mutually beneficial relationship happen.
Honesty is paramount.
Always be transparent and honest with your customers. This gives them peace of mind in knowing that they can trust you while also feeling like they can reciprocate and trust you as well. This also helps endear them to your company which helps build long-term relationships rather than short-term ones where they may not feel connected enough to continue working with your company in the future.
Know when to say no.
It can be difficult to know when a customer is being unreasonable and asking too much of your time which will put an unnecessary strain on your business, or is asking for something that you just cannot do. You might also decide that it would be better for them to find a different vendor rather than have you work with them in the long term because you aren’t able to give them what they want. However, it is important to know when there is a point where you need to say no, because if you continue to take on more projects and choose customers that ask too much of your time, it will become harder and harder for your company as a whole to grow and sustain itself in the long term.
Communication is key.
Communication is key when it comes to dealing with difficult customers. Take the time to explain your thinking and why you made the choices that you did. If they don’t agree with what you did, let them know that you can work something out. On the other hand, if they continue to be a problem for your business, then things might get more complicated for both of you.
Offer a little more than what you are currently paying for.
One of the most important things you can do for difficult customers is to offer a little more than what you are currently paying for. If you have a feeling that your customer might be demanding more in the future, offering them something extra now will make it easier for them to be willing to work with you again when the time comes.
You need customers to make a living, but you also need to remember that not all customers are made the same. Dealing with difficult customers can be frustrating, but it can also be rewarding. By staying open to new challenges, and knowing when to say no, you will eventually develop the customer service skills and empathy necessary for handling all kinds of customers.