Handling Difficult Customers and Suppliers

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This is the very delicate topic that business owners or entrepreneurs mention one thing from their mouth and believe another thing in their hearts. Many of us are guilty of saying

that the customer is king while treating them otherwise most times behind their backs. I treat my customers the same way I would treat them when they are not around as when they stand in my office - with courtesy, respect and trust.

A lot of businesses when they fail to convey these feelings to their customer also fail to be able to remain firm when necessary in relating with customers. I have had customers storm into my office upset about poor communication e.t.c. but walk out of our office premises relieved and more calm. What did we do to change the tide? Communicate? Well, not just that - it was how we communicated. Have you ever experienced a situation where you call a customer service line and the person conveys information across to you as though he/she were not sure about the information being passed across? It occurred to me that the reason we were in most cases able to calm our upset customers down was simply because we communicated to them with solid facts and information as well as the next point of action we intend embarking on to solve the present challenge. This works for majority of customers - provide information from a point of knowledge and avoid saying the very annoying "I don't know"

Then there are others who you will need to go the extra mile to solve their issues. Some might request for a full refund not minding any costs incurred on your part, some will threaten litigation, while others will insist on getting their pound of flesh by threatening arrest, bodily harm and likewise.

To show your commitment to solving the issues for the customer, put a time frame to getting a result or resolve to pay a certain % of the value of the item, contract or service back to the customer until the issue is resolved. This lets the customer know that you are creating a win-win situation for them. In cases where the issue is then escalated by the customer and third parties are to be involved in solving the issue, you will need to also bring in third parties such as a legal team or the Police. When you are threatened physically in the course of your business activities, your recourse should be to the law and you should report such incidents at the nearest Police station.

Stay alert in all aspects of getting your business to excel - it goes a long way.

Top of it all, customers who fall in this category assist your business to know its loopholes and problem spots. Be on the alert to plug such holes as the quiet customers who say nothing to you and move their business elsewhere are the ones who kill business eventually.

Read 486 times Last modified on Monday, 27 April 2015 17:30
Morakinyo Beckley

Co-founder and COO of Oyoyo Retail Limited and Founder of Bringitbay Limited. He holds a Masters in Entrepreneurship from the University of Essex, UK and a BSc in Economics from Lagos State University, Ojo. He has a background in banking - with exposure to Retail Sales/Operations. He has core competence in sales and logistics and he's an avid reader and tennis player.

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