For those in customer service, this can be a daily event. There are however tried and true ways to help you deal with ‘challenging’ people in your working day and we’ve listed them.
We wrote a while back about companies who focus heavily on the experience of the end user as part of their strategy for success and make excellence in customer service their number one priority. We gave examples from multinational names like Tesla, Apple, Amazon, Marriott and Salesforce. Part of it was looking at how Elon Musk successfully handled a complaint over Twitter about Tesla charging stations. (Punchline: he treated the complaint like the gift it was: to improve and grow).
We‘ve written a number times about the ongoing challenge of customer complaints and how to manage them like the gift that they are, now here are 6 ways to help deal with complaints and the challenging people who make them.
Here are a few tips we offer to teams we work with (particularly service-oriented teams) on how to successfully deal with different people, their needs and their issues all while still maintaining the brand, your professionalism, and a high quality of service.
1: It’s Not About You
Don’t make it personal. Shift the focus by separating the person from the behaviour. Sometimes it can be the key to your success in moving forward.
2: Remember Your Triggers
It’s easy to describe people as “challenging” or “difficult” but different people find different types of people difficult to deal with. Your “challenging” person might just be someone you find personally challenging, perhaps a person who happens to trigger a personal issue for you.
3: Lead The Way
If you want to foster effective communication with a challenging person, first realise that you alone have control over your own behaviour. You can’t control how someone else acts, but you can influence to some degree how they respond to you. Often, the key is to set an example. In other words, don’t tell someone to calm down, demonstrate it in how you talk and behave.
4: Be Accountable: Check In With Your Feelings
Be aware of how you are feeling before you engage a customer. If you are having a bad day it may come across in your interactions and escalate an already difficult situation.
5: Practice Empathy
Try to understand how the customer feels and empathise with them. Developing a culture of empathy is one of the most invaluable team development investments a company can make. Read How to Implement Empathy in the Workplace if you want to know more.
6: Deal only with the Matter at Hand
‘Don’t label people’ and ‘be in the moment’ are two great life lessons that can be invaluable when handling a challenging or demanding customer. Even if you have a history with this person, try to put aside all of your preconceived ideas, especially if they are negative, and deal with the matter at hand.
Changing our mindsets to put other people first is one of the best ways to not only deal with difficult situations, it is one of the best ways to grow a healthy success culture – just ask Tesla, Apple, Amazon, Marriott and Salesforce
– or even easier, just ask me!