From time to time, these rude and sometimes unfair customers appear.
Maybe they screwed up, perhaps not. Perhaps someone in the company is responsible for this situation, but because you are the salesperson, you are the one who needs to answer the phone.
In any case, you now have to deal with an angry, rude and sometimes abusively rude customer.
Well, you should think about some things first.
I know the first thing that comes to your mind is that you have the motto “The client is always right” in our company. Either this one or something similar. If you do not, you can certainly understand that “it costs more to win a customer than to keep it”, so it is often in your hands to be able to change a “difficulty” into an “opportunity” and secure the loyalty of yet another customer.
In most cases, just because the customer is taking a negative stance does not mean you need to do the same.
You do not even have to take a defensive stance, which would be your most natural response to this situation.
When you take any of these actions, you are telling the customer that “they” are the problem and not that there is a problem that has to be solved (and even though it seems that they are in fact the problem, that does not help you solve the problem more easily…).
In fact, what you want is to solve the problem and safeguard the commercial relationship that has taken you so long to build.
Each time you encounter someone who is rude or unfair, remember that there is always the possibility that this is the “only” choice they think they have to solve the problem at hand.
That being the case, this is your opportunity to “educate” them by showing them new possibilities.
When people face a problem, that means the problem exists “now” in the “present time”.
And this is when you should deal with the problem. You can not change the past, but you can change the way people remember it. You can not change the future, but you can influence it based on what you do now, in the present time.
So when you are looking for a solution, ask the following:
“What do you want, (pause) exactly?” Or “What exactly could we do to solve this issue?”
When we mention this kind of approach, most people usually retract and think: “If I do this, the customer will just answer something ridiculous or impossible to accomplish.”
In fact, there is such a possibility. But think of it this way, at this moment they are not focusing on any solution, they are only focusing on the problem, and this is certainly making them very angry.
From the moment you ask this question, the customer automatically focuses on the solution in the future, which is exactly what you want to happen.
By doing this, you are also communicating in a very clear way that it is your intention to solve the problem. And if indeed they have a solution in mind, why not know about it right away. Rather than make them more and more frustrated with your proposals, that may not be what they want at all?
Once you have an answer, you will find yourself in a new stage of the process, where you can give them what they want (if it is feasible) or else negotiate something based on that. But at least you will have a starting point.
Now you have a customer to whom the salesperson effectively solves a problem. This is not only a happy customer, it is a customer that can give references to other people.
The customer knows that most business processes have some problems along the way. We are dealing with people after all. And sometimes not everything is perfect.
The difference is that the customer feels support from the salesperson dealing with them throughout this process and you will thus be able to further cement the relationship of trust that you have been building with your customer.
So the next time you have an angry, rude or even worse, customer, consider it an opportunity rather than a difficulty!
Also published on Medium.