It is well known that customers can overreact on certain issues as long as you are working with them. It is easy to encounter a situation where a client is shouting, yelling, or throwing insults at you.
The most important thing when it comes to handling clients is to define and enforce professional boundaries clearly and early in advance. Act in a way that they depicts to the client, how they should address and treat you. But what if you receive poor treatment from new or even existing clients? Here are some few tips on this.
Look At the Issue from the Client’s Perspective
Before you even decide to take action with your ill treating client, take time to get a reflection of the whole situation. This can be best done if you put yourself in their shoes and assume you’re the one feeling the pain or taking the action that you considered poor treatment. This way, you can be able to get an insight on how best to handle the situation, if perhaps you find yourself to be the one on the wrong. And in this world of a highly competitive business environment, you can’t just run away from the fact that your customer is always right. Take time to remember that professionalism in business requires understanding and prowess in conflict resolution.
Clients themselves are human, and the most important thing is that we all have different ways of responding or reacting when faced with certain situations. It is thus imperative that you come up with a concerned approach of getting information from your client before going ahead and running into conclusions. In most cases, the client has very little to lose. Some of them even go ahead to try and damage business reputations, just from minor disappointments. The good thing is that you can prevent all this by getting their side of the story. However, it is also important to know your customer firsthand, even before such poor treatments arise, so that you can know how best to treat them in advance.
Apologize Professionally and Empathetically
When you find yourself on the wrong after gathering information or asking your client some questions, it doesn’t kill to admit imperfections. Even the client themselves probably know that as long as we’re human, slight errors occur here and there. Be empathetic and don’t transfer the blame to others. Make it your responsibility to apologize on behalf of the business, even if you may not necessarily have to be the business owner. The beauty of apologizing is that it makes the customer feel superior and respected, and this can be a huge opportunity to create a long lasting professional relationship especially if you are able to address the problem or the concern right there and then.
Have the Problem Fixed
In most cases, you may find that clients who treat you poorly did so due to a minor issue such as delivery of the wrong product, incomplete package, service that was half done, or overcharging. These are issues that you can have solved as quickly as you can, even before apologizing for it or even having to getting their side of the story. However, some issues might be a little complex and way beyond your control. Just treat the client with dignity in such a case, and let them know you are doing everything you can to have them sorted out. There is a great story about a Rhode Island granite countertop professional who brought and irate customer flowers after some handiwork had cracked. It started off the repair process on the right foot. She left him a great review which resulted in more referral business than he had before!
Always Be Looking For New Clients If the Matter Can’t Be Solved
Sometimes you just have to face it; that some working relationships just won’t materialize. This is specially the case with clients who treat you poorly and consistently display cunning or aggressive behaviors. As much as you want every single sale for your business, you can as well choose to avoid a client that you don’t like working with if you have alternatives. With the stress of dealing with the difficult client gone, you can even get relief of mind, which can significantly boost your morale and productivity alike.
What to Avoid
- Avoid aggressively fighting back or insulting your rogue client – This can be suicidal to business.
- Don’t respond to accusations, but professionally put the facts straight instead.
- Avoid discussing you business or personal life – It will put more salt to the injury.
Below you’ll find a helpful video from the London Business School on “Conflict Resolution in Teams”.