Today we will discuss how to behave with hostile or aggressive customers, how to talk to them, how to avoid stress and find an effective way out of the conflict.
What сan Lead to a Conflict?
Sometimes conflict situations arise regardless of our actions.
- System error
There are no perfect systems in the world. And in every area of sales, there is a defect, an unforeseen set of circumstances, or the proverbial human factor. That are circumstances that are very difficult to influence.
And there will always be a percentage of claims, and the number of such conflict situations will grow in proportion to sales growth. It’s okay — the larger the company, the more conflicts.
- Bad day
All people are subject to emotions. On this day, the client can get up on the wrong foot, or he may have some personal problem, and you will get under the hot hand.
Imagine that. Would you be offended by a negative or conflicted client if you knew that on that day, he had found out about a terminal illness, his wife had cheated on him, or a close relative had died? Probably not. But it could be that day.
Think about that when you meet a hostile client. It will help you not to snap.
There is also a group of introverted clients, or haters, who live in a negative world. You cannot influence them either because they look for and attract negativity everywhere and, at the first opportunity, will unleash their aggression on you.
The fourth reason for the conflict can be a strategic position, which intentionally selects your opponent. For example, he manipulates and deliberately raises the level of competition to get some personal benefit out of it.
Now let’s talk about resolving the conflict situation itself if it arises. Most importantly, never argue with the client and do not succumb to emotions.
At the moment of heat, the client’s rational thinking stops working, and if he is affected by negative emotions, he sees the world through a negative prism, and you are a monster to him. So relax. You’re a monster!
Think of yourself in a state where the bar is dropping. Do you control yourself, and can you have a normal conversation with yourself? It’s the same with the client.
Show the client your empathy. The main thing he wants at this moment is to see the acceptance of his position and the banal sympathy on your part. The technique of active listening will also help you a lot.
Now the ways themselves to neutralize the conflict. The strategy of behavior here is simple. First, you need to reduce the degree of emotions. Otherwise, the client will not hear you, move the conversation in a constructive direction, and come to a compromise.
How to reduce the heat and degree of emotion:
- Taking notes
Take a pen and politely ask the client to speak more slowly, with the excuse that you will write everything down. The client will be forced to speak more slowly, and they will be put down by themselves.
Under any pretext, leave the client for 5 -10 minutes or offer to write a complaint. Return to the conversation when the client has cooled down.
- Face Change
Listen to the negative customer, take the “emotional hit,” and then call the supervisor to resolve the situation constructively. After letting off steam, the client will speak more cautiously to the supervisor.
“I’m totally on your side, it’s all of them (suppliers, sales department, accounting, etc.). Let’s think together about how to deal with them.” This is where you get on the same side as the client.
- Preventing a Bad Scenario
If you can not avoid conflict, agree to solve everything without unnecessary emotions since they will not help. And if emotions suddenly arise, operate on this agreement.
If the situation gets out of hand, ask, “Do you want to argue or resolve the issue?” That way, you can siege the client. An average person wants to resolve the issue, and if the client wants to argue, say that you do not intend to argue and offer to postpone communication.
- Human Factor
Tell the client: “We apologize on behalf of the company. The human factor is to blame. You know, it happens to everyone”. Indeed, who among us is not mistaken? The client can hardly disagree with this fact.
Put the conflict into a rational perspective, ask: “What exactly are you unhappy with? What is the essence of the problem? What do you think is the problem, and whose fault is it? How can the situation be corrected? What would you do in my position?” These specific questions will help you get into a dialogue, deal with the situation, and resolve the issue.
If the customer is unsure of your position, ask if they would want you to fine the offending employee for the total loss. In most cases, people prefer to roll back and look for alternatives.
The essence of the technique is that you start by thanking the customer. For example:
Yes, it’s an unpleasant situation. We take it very seriously. After all, it’s situations like this that help us improve the quality of service. I will bring this to the management, and we will take all measures. And we can only thank you for coming to us so quickly and telling us about it.
So, we learned effective ways how to resolve conflict with client. Remember: customers are not the enemy. Put yourself in their shoes and treat them as you would like to be treated in a similar situation. After all, these demanding customers give impetus for development and upward movement. And for that alone, we should be grateful.