4 effective tips for dealing with difficult customers

by | Feb 22, 2022 | Public Relations

A disgruntled customer is a force to be reckoned with for PR managers, frontline workers, and business owners alike; yet dealing with them professionally and efficiently is essential for brand protection.

This might be particularly true in the digital age when reviews written by literally anyone can be seen by millions at the touch of a button.

Difficult customers can prove to be more than just a nuisance to be appeased however, especially the more nefarious individuals that may lean towards illegality.

In order to make sure you deal with your difficult customers in a way that does not comprise your brand, and instead wins them over to your side without making a bad situation even worse, here are some top tips to check out.

Use the right tech

PR and customer appeasement is not all about big smiles and saying the right words at the right time. It can be an immensely serious process, and one that should be tackled with care and attentiveness.

The right technology may be able to act as a valuable ally in this regard. Customer relationship management software has come a long way in this regard, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

Moreover, it is worth noting that customers are not always sincere in their intentions, especially when financial gain is on the line.

For example, financial organizations have long implemented great tech such as AML compliance software to ensure that their customers are sufficiently screened and not trying to launder any money.

If you were worried about the threat of some huge compliance fines heading your way, this is certainly an area of software worth exploring.

Practice clear and effective communication

By remaining accessible for communication at all times, honing your listening skills, and keeping calm and professional, you may be able to stop an issue long before it has the chance to snowball into reputational damage.

Often, relying on one channel of communication isn’t the best for this, as you need to make sure you are talking to the customer via a platform that suits their needs best.

Be it a live chat widget on your website, a phone call, or in some circumstances, a face-to-face meeting, whatever the customer finds most suitable should be entertained.

Remember to apologize

A meaningful apology is often one that recognizes the customer’s emotions and fully addresses the situation from their perspective.

In the heat of the moment, it can be easy to forget to say sorry, particularly if the customer is outraged. Patience is certainly a virtue. This doesn’t mean, however, that you need to put up with any abuse. Nobody has time for that and you certainly don’t deserve it, so know when to let go.

Responding to criticism

The online world is a breeding ground for all manner of criticism, and sometimes, silence can be a valid option when dealing with trolls or bullies.

When a customer has a genuine grievance, or when a social media post or review starts getting some big visibility, writing a response may be essential to ensure damage limitation.

It is worth remembering however, that plenty of brands tackle online criticism with guts and dignity on a daily basis, and in full view of the public: it’s all about what suits your brand.

Steve Conway
Steve Conway is a content marketing professional and inbound marketing expert. Previously, Steve worked as a marketing manager for a tech software start-up. He is passionate about discovering new software that will that will advance his already well-honed digital marketing techniques.


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