Difficult Customers just want to be heard

Difficult customers can take the joy out of any day. They sometimes rant and rave, remind you that they pay your salary and generally make you feel as if you can’t do your job properly.

We’ve all been there right? On both sides of the counter.

So what does a difficult customer really want? Sure, they want satisfaction; whether that be their money back, their product repaired or some type of solution. But what they really want is to be heard.

Yes, you heard that right. They want to be heard!

According to the experts, the average venting session for an angry person is 45 seconds long. When you are on the receiving end of that venting session, it feels like 45 minutes long! And typically, we interrupt them at some point to either defend ourselves, or attempt to end the vent.

Let the customer vent. They need to be heard more than anything else.

Listen with compassion. Listen to understand what it is exactly they are looking for from you. But mostly, listen to give them what they need, because they need to be heard.

Don’t interrupt them. Maintain eye contact, nod your head (to show understanding, and that you are listening), breathe (because we tend to hold our breath when we are attacked), and let them vent.

When they are done, you are not going to say “Are you finished?”. Reply with an empathic statement such as “If that happened to me, I would be upset too”, which is true, you would be.

Once they’ve gotten the anger out of their system, then you can focus on fixing whatever the problem is. If you interrupt the venting, you can’t give them what they need, because the number one thing they need is to be heard.

It’s not easy. It’s not even fair. But it does work.

Rhonda Scharf, CSP, is a Certified Speaking Professional, trainer and author based in Ottawa. She helps organizations feel motivated and educated through her interactive, realistic and fun training programs and keynote speeches. If your team needs a boost by increasing their effectiveness and efficiency, then Rhonda will get you ON THE RIGHT TRACK. www.on-the-right-track.com or call at 1877-213-8608 today!

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