Difficult situations and choices are small business owners’ constant companions. One of the more painful of these situations is tactfully dealing with difficult customers. If you have not yet already faced a rude customer, you will surely find yourself in such a situation in the future. The high of having to interact with difficult customers as a small business owner is exactly why you should know how to best handle the situation. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when handling a difficult customer:
- Practice Remaining Calm – The absolute worst decision you can make is to lose your self-control and get angry at the customer. Not only will this lead to an embarrassing shouting match that may or may not show up on social media somewhere, but you will have also let the incident ruin your day and waste your valuable efforts on a less meaningful task. Try your best at remaining calm. See the experience as a way for you to practice your self-control. If you feel yourself losing your cool, just walk away from the situation. Do not embarrass yourself and your small business because of one difficult customer.
- Redirect the Conversation in a Productive Direction – Difficult customers often rant in an emotional manner that hides the true underlying issues of your business. Take the opportunity to see the unruly customer as somebody who could provide some useful constructive criticism. Ignore the emotional backlash and do your best to redirect the conversation toward how the situation could be remediated. Uncover lessons that your small business could pull from to improve future experiences.
- Have a Limit – There is a fine line between being sympathetic and being verbally abused. Being sympathetic is great to most cases of difficult customers as it will make them feel heard. But you will also get some customers that are just being verbally abusive. If customers are taking out their anger on you in a manner that is completely inappropriate, do not just stand there and take it. Calmly let the customer know that their behavior is unacceptable and remove yourself from the conversation. If the situation begins to spiral out of control and you fear for your safety, do not be afraid to get law enforcement involved.
- Don’t Absorb the Negativity – Mistakes and failures are often so much more memorable in our minds than successes. Nevertheless, it is crucial for you to be able to let go of any criticism from customers. If you don’t, the negativity will keep you up at night and prevent you from focusing all your efforts on how to successfully run your small business. Be comfortable with letting go of mistakes after you have learned your lessons.
After interacting with a difficult customer, it is always a great idea to have methods to relax and unwind. Developing good habits such as exercise and proper sleep will help keep stress down. If you need advice on how to best run your small business finances, visit biz2credit.com.