Frustrated man

10 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Clients

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It takes a special talent to deal with many types of people, and when you are in the construction business, customer satisfaction needs to be your highest priority. Without the ability to effectively manage dissatisfied or difficult customers, you can kiss a successful business goodbye.

Here are some facts:

  • According to the Forum Corporation, 70% of customers leave a business because of poor customer service (compared to only 15% who leave because of price and quality).
  • “Satisfied customers tell five people about the good service they receive. Dissatisfied customers tell 10 people,” says Hal Mather, The Performance Advantage.
  • Companies lose 20% of customers per year, according to FORTUNE Magazine, because they fail to tend to them properly.
  • According to the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs, only one in 26 customers will share a complaint; the rest stay silent.

So, how do you turn the tables and offer good customer service despite its challenges? If you’re dealing with an unhappy customer, here are some tips to get through it smoothly:

  1. Apologize, but don’t lay blame.
  2. Be prepared. Come ready with solutions to fix the problem so they know you are trying to make things right.
  3. Learn the facts. Find out why they are dissatisfied to help avoid repeating the problem in the future.
  4. Hear them out. Most of the time, people just want to be heard, so let them talk it out. Be a good listener; take notes and summarize their points when they’re done speaking.
  5. Don’t argue. As tempting as it is to argue back, keep your temper under control. I promise you it will only make things worse to argue.
  6. Show them you are concerned about their situation and don’t minimize their issues.
  7. State the plan. Explain to them the plan of action, including time frames if you have them.
  8. Identify expectations. Tell customers what they should expect from you after you take care of the issue.
  9. Take action. Once you outline the solutions, get the job done.
  10. Check back. Follow up afterward to make sure you’ve smoothed out the issue. The client will appreciate that you’re proactive and attentive.

While we never want to have an unhappy or difficult client, it is possible to get through it by keeping focused and working to respond to and fix the problem in a timely manner.

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