Customer Experience News & Trends

Dealing with difficult customers

Every business has them: difficult customers. Dealing with them successfully — so that they remain customers — rests on a few techniques that revolve around asking the right questions.

These approaches come from a new book, Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business and Influence Others, by Andrew Sobel.

Customer demands a discount. If you or your staff say no immediately, customers will likely end the conversation. Instead, say:

  • “I can respond to that request more effectively if I understand what’s behind it. Can you tell me something about why you need a discount or feel our price is too high?”
  • “I should be able to reduce the price if we increase the sale quantity or you could agree to a long-term contract. Would you like me to work on this option?”
  • Then to confirm a new agreement has been set, “When can we have this ready for you?”

Customer gets off track and angry. To cool a customer’s jets and get back on track, say:

  • “Can we slow down for a minute and get refocused?”
  • “Can we start over again?”

Customer complains incessantly. Customers who can’t stop complaining sometimes need to move forward. Make that happen by asking:

  • “Thank you for bringing this to my attention. How do you think things got to this point?”
  • “This is important. How do you think we can best respond to it?”





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