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Handling difficult customers while maintaining excellence

Customers may always be right, though it does not mean all customers are easy to deal with. These are some of the tips on how to deal with difficult customer’s to realise customer excellence;

Practice active listening. Do not try to talk over the customer or argue with them. Let the customer have their say. To deliver Customer Excellence, active listening also entails that you listen with your whole body.

Be mindful of your verbal and non-verbal cues. The things you say, and do not say, can significantly affect the outcome of any customer interaction. Signs of boredom, impatience, or aggression will only escalate the situation. If the customer gets louder, start speaking more slowly and in a lower tone. Your calm demeanour will reflect on them and will help them to settle down.

Assume all customers are watching. Pretend you are not talking only to the customer but to an audience that is watching the interaction.Being tactful and discreet is crucial when dealing with difficult customers. Remember, other people are watching, and some may even whip out their smartphones to record the conflict. Customer Excellence dictates that the last thing you want is for the negative incident to hit social media.

Having the right mental attitude.Having the right mental attitude will help prevent your buttons from getting pushed and enable you to respond in a calm and professional manner. If the customer is swearing or being verbally abusive, take a deep breath and continue as if you did not hear them.

Build rapport with customers. Put yourself in the customer's shoes. Echo back the source of their frustration and show that you understand their position and situation. If you can identify with a customer's issue, it will help calm them while giving you a platform for Customer Excellence.

"A smile is very important as it heals a broken heart and brightens the day. Always remember to smile"