Customers are the heart and soul of any business. Business owners are working hard to attract new customers for their business and increase the retention rate through various loyalty programs. And, most of the time, they are rewarded for their efforts.
However, not all customers are the nice and easy-going type. Some of them are nagging, never happy or even litigious. As a home-based business owner, without an army of counselors and lawyers at your disposal, the perspective of an angry customer ruining your reputation online or even taking you to court is a nightmare. What should you do when you sense that a customer is encroaching on your business and proving more of a liability than an asset?
In general, challenging customers fall into certain categories and there are tested and proven ways of dealing with them. Today we will discuss exactly this aspect – how to deal with the most frequent types of challenging customer in a diplomatic and time-saving manner, so that your business and your peace of mind are both safe from turmoil.
1. Mr. Know-It-All
This type of nagging customer will frequently comment on your blog posts and social media accounts, pointing out aspects which you have missed in the topic you were discussing. This customer has tried this, done that and has a clever way of turning your words around. The problem with such a customer is that they undermine your authority in your own niche in the eyes of other potential customers. They will also prolong a purchase process way beyond the usual time required for any other client with questions and hypothetical situations in which your product or service may or may not be used.
The solution: this type of customer responds well to a little ego tickling and will be mollified quickly by praising their sharp wit, experience and know-how on that specific topic. This customer has the potential to become a loyal customer for the simple fact that they finally found a business which values their intelligence.
2. The Customer without Limits
This customer does not really grasp the fact that you have a private life and expects you to check your email around the clock. Also, if you had the unfortunate idea of supplying your mobile phone number for quick orders, you will have your phone beeping at all hours with messages.
The solution: Be firm in setting boundaries with the customer. Post your business hours on your website and on your social media accounts and enforce them. That is, refrain from answering texts or emails outside your business hours. The customer without limits will soon learn them and act accordingly.
3. The Overly Friendly Customer
This type of customer is not a danger to your business other than by being a tremendous time waster. This person keeps engaging you in conversations on the social media, requires one-on-one video conferences to discuss your products or services and their next order, and starts approaching topics completely unrelated to your business dealings. Most of the time there is a disproportion between the total purchases made by the chatty customer and the time spent with them.
The solution: Be friendly, but firm in steering the conversation back to the key topic (the sale). Do not encourage off-topic discussions by your silence, but politely intervene and stop the conversation flow.
4. The Customer Is Always Right
This is a potentially litigious customer and you should be very careful in dealing with them. There are lots of people who try to exploit small business owners by forcing the limits of the law in the customer’s favor at all costs. They will read your warranty policy, terms and conditions of sale and return word by word and attempt to find any small flaw they can use. Their general attitude is unfriendly, brisk and focused on what they consider their rights and your failure to satisfy them.
The solution: Exert all caution in dealing with this customer and do everything by the book. Keep all email and text exchanges with the customer in case you have to use them to prove them that they are not right.
5. The Undecided
This customer will take forever until they decide to make a purchase. They will analyze, compare your products against each other and with other products, and they will keep nagging you with questions, requests for more clarification, etc. This means that you are wasting time without the guarantee of getting a sale from that person.
The solution: Get to the bottom of their indecision: is it the price, the quality of the products, the terms and conditions for warranty? Once you have identified the core problem, you are in a position to make them an offer they cannot refuse. If they do – at least you stopped wasting valuable time.
Last but not least, remember to have all your business insurances in good standing and to make a clear legal separation between your personal assets and those belonging to your business. In case of an angry customer suing you, you need to protect yourself and your family from their claims (justified or not).