Building Strong Customer Relationships – 11 Strategies to Handle Difficult Clients

  • October 16, 2020
  • by Kate Kurzawska
  • No comments

The importance of client relationships in today’s business world is bigger than ever. One mistake in account management is enough to give your business a bad reputation.

Research shows that as a consequence of poor customer service, US businesses lose $62 billion every year.

That’s why it’s so important to have your customer support at the highest level. Especially when it comes to handling disputes with clients. So how to deal with angry customers? How can it influence your business? And what to do to improve account management?

Here, you’ll find everything about managing relationships with difficult customers.

Why Are Strong Customer Relationships Important for Your Business?

Strong and healthy client relationships can pave your way to success. Just like in personal life relationships affect your happiness, well-being, and success, the same way customer relationships impact your business. When they’re neglected, things tend to get worse.

Strong customer relationships are important for your business for many reasons. Mostly, because they bring many benefits.

Here’s why client relationships are so important:

Customer retention

Managing customer relationships helps to maintain a high customer retention rate. When you take care of your clients, they want to go back to you. And you don’t have to be afraid they’ll leave you for your competitors.

Additionally, it’s cheaper to retain old customers than look for new ones.

Happy customers

Lisa Masiello said, “Happy customers are your biggest advocates and can become your most successful sales team.”

And that’s because when customers are satisfied with your product, service, and support, they’re not only willing to come back to you for more, but also spread the word about your business. And the word of mouth is the best advertisement for your product.

Good reputation

According to statistics, Americans will pay 17% more to do business with firms that have great reputations when it comes to customer service.

Create strong client relationships, and people will want to work with you or buy your products and services.

A secured customer base

If you maintain strong client relationships and care for your customers, they will repay you with loyalty. They will trust you and want to do business with you again.

Lower employee turnover rate

Customer satisfaction is a driving factor for employee satisfaction. When people are happy with your customer service, your company has more deals, higher revenue, and stability. In turn, employees are motivated to work and serve clients.

That means employees won’t leave the company and you’ll save money on hiring new workers.

How to Handle Angry Customers?

Even the best performers happen to have problems. It’s even more common among sales teams, customer support, and people responsible for client relationships.

So what to do when you come across angry, inpatient, or problematic clients? We’ve got you covered! Here are the best, proven strategies for how to deal with difficult customers.

1. Be patient

It’s said that patience is a virtue. And it has a strong value in managing customer relationships, especially with an angry customer. So learn to listen to clients to deliver a professional service, but also to fully understand their problems and needs.

To control your impatience, you can use such calming techniques like breathing exercises, mindfulness, or journaling. It also helps to reduce stress and anxiety, and become aware of your emotions and behavioral patterns.

And if the situation is really difficult, wait.

Sometimes it’s better to let yourself walk away from it for a while to look at the issue from another perspective. Then, when your emotions simmer down, you can see things differently, and come up with a good solution.

2. Show empathy

People like to know they are being treated as humans, not robots. Our social media management specialist, Ola, points to the importance of the human factor when dealing with clients, “I always introduce myself and finish the conversation by signing off with my name so the person knows he or she is talking with a real human, not a chatbot.”

By being empathetic, you show people you care about client relationships. Also, respond quickly to people. Waiting makes them unfold their frustrations on you.

3. Keep calm and keep it together

In the article for HubSpot, Meg Prater writes about the affect heuristic – the way you feel is critical in the choices and decisions you make.

For example, if the difficult client comes back to you with their problem and you have a bad experience with that person, you will be biased when dealing with the issue. You may feel angry, frustrated, or unmotivated. And let’s not forget that it works both ways – your client will feel the same.

In such a situation, it’s best to calm down, turn off your emotions, and focus on delivering the best service rather than have the client remember you as a bad support agent, and have a poor customer experience.

4. Ask questions and don’t be afraid

Don’t be afraid to ask for details concerning your client, the company, needs, and other specific information. After all, what’s the worst thing that can happen?

It’s alright to ask questions to get more details. It’ll help you deliver the best service! Additionally, your client will feel important knowing that she was properly taken care of.

Another good part of this strategy is to consult the problem with your teammates. 

It may turn out that someone else on your team has already dealt with the issue and knows a perfect solution. You never know!

5. Don’t oversell

Don’t talk too much to your client. Instead, set yourself realistically. That way you will surprise your client with even better results because they won’t expect more.

But there’s more to that.

It would be best if you were honest with your customers. Don’t promise to fix the problem if you know it’s impossible to improve a product, add a feature, or provide a service that exceeds your expertise.

6. Use positive language

It’s scientifically proven that positive language has a strong impact on how other people perceive us.

Positive words are good not only for brain activity but also for how your clients see you. Just think about it, it sounds much better to say “I can help with your problem if you give me 5 minutes” rather than “I can’t” or “I don’t know.”

It’s one of the best strategies on how to deal with irate customers as it unconsciously makes them feel better. It’ll also leave them with positive connotations about your company. So be positive!

7. Listen, don’t argue

“The customer is always right”, they say. And even if you disagree with what your customer has to say, listen, and acknowledge.

And then, propose a different solution, educate, and show you’re a professional. Present and explain how you can solve the problem amicably with value for both sides.

Show that you understand.

Even the fact that you’ll listen to the customer and let him or her know the problem and its impact on their business will make them feel better.

8. Respect

The client is rude, angry, and always dissatisfied, we all get it. But let’s be honest, it’s the client who pays your bills. It’s the source of your and your team’s income, no matter how much frustration he or she causes.

Respect, be nice, and tolerant. Showing anger or contempt toward your client will only worsen the situation.

And don’t take it personally.

After all, the irate customer has a problem with the product not with you. So don’t take the responsibility for the trouble. It won’t help but make you feel stressed and uncomfortable.

9. Adjust communication channels

Some people like to communicate things verbally. Some prefer to write, and others to read and see. You need to take care of every type of person and embrace diversity.

So create different channels for dealing with difficult customers – updated Knowledge Base with online tutorials, images, videos, live chat, or videoconference.

10. Stick to the company’s values

Let’s be honest, when dealing with angry customers, you won’t always be able to fix their problem. And that’s why it’s okay to say ‘no’.

There is a fine line between what’s good for a client and what’s good for your company. Something that’s a priority for the client is not a priority for your business. So you need to find a balance and learn to refuse and explain.

11. Collect Feedback

It’s not a secret that the client is the main source of information about how to make the best product.

Does it seem to you that a single opinion is useless?

Wrong!

😎 In for a penny, in for a pound. Don’t ignore what people say. Instead, collect client feedback, categorize it, and analyze. It’ll help you create a better product that will exceed customer expectations.

How Would You Handle an Angry Customer?

At some point in your career, you will come into contact with angry customers. Either if you work solo, or are part of a sales, support team, client relationship department, or are the CEO of a company.

Treat such a situation as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Or stop picking up the phone, stop replying to emails. This strategy, however, should be used ONLY in extreme situations with the extra upset customer. We don’t recommend to use it on a daily basis 😉

Get to know your customers, their needs, requirements to exceed expectations, and provide outstanding client service.

Good luck! 💪

Kate Kurzawska

Kate is a freelance translator, copywriter, and a content writer specializing in time tracking software, time management, and productivity. When not researching new software, she's reading books, or spending time outdoors.

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