How can you help a “challenging” customer?

The customer is never wrong and some customers use this principle completely.

Some customers make it their goal to ‘cause’ a stir when they shop.
Now…do you argue with them or do you let them abuse the system?

The answer is neither.

Knowing that a customer may have issues from time to time and being willing to help the customer with their concern is a good thing. However, if this is a customer who repeatedly “has issues”, then it may be necessary to consider the source.

An example of a customer who abuses the system is one who buys an item brings it back when it’s not “new” anymore only to replace it with the same thing. Once isn’t too bad, even twice can be overlooked but a customer, who brings their items back over and over again, may be looking at a chance to take advantage of your store’s policies. Sometimes these are the very people who will cheat a company out of thousands of dollars.

Before arguing with the customer, prepare to look deeper. It may only require a manager advising the customer that this isn’t good practice or it may require a professional look into this person’s record. After all, the business industry is full of scam artists just looking to make a buck.

Knowing the difference between a customer in need and a scammer may not be easy, but, you need to consider how your company handles scammers. Not only can your profits be affected but your other customers who require your undivided attention.  How can you manage these difficult customers?

  1. Listen
    Be a good listener. If you hear the whole story, it may help to better serve their needs.
  2. Think and respond
    Consider ways to solve the problem. Talk about them with your management.
  3. Empathize
    A compassionate statement may defuse a customer who may otherwise be irrational.
  4. Resolve the issue
    Do all you can to rectify this situation and to ensure the matter will not happen again.

The customer can make or break your business. Acting with understanding and courtesy will go a long way.

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