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dear all, how to deal with rude customers?

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#1   Posted: 13 Dec 2007 05:21

hi all
i know there is a saying that Customer is the God. But now i am not sure if it is a 100% regulation in customer service.
I am in China, working for Starkey Labortory. Our dealers are quite different as they did different jobs before selling hearing aids. I found many of them are always rude on the phone for ridiculous request. For example, according to our commercial policy, we charge them for returing production that has sold out for more than 1 month without any quality problem. They insist that we SHOULDN'T do that. I always feel difficult to explain. they are shouting on the phone and never listen, what can we do??
dear all, any good suggestion??? how do you deal with this kind of issue on work?? or just becuase i have SPECIAL customers?? :-((

looking forward to hearing from you~~
thanks a lot!!!


#2   Posted: 14 Dec 2007 01:24

Am sorry that you have to listen to yelling of a customer more often. Unfortunately, the customer is always right even when we know they are not. In customer service or a department where we deal directly with customers we really need to be patient and really be carefull with the choice of words we use. Its because of those clients that our businesses are running so we need them.
I think some clients behave like that and make a lot of noise because they think or know that we depend on them for business and one slight mistake they switch to the competitors who are always ready to wellcome them with open arms.
However, i would like to ask wether there is/are specific customers who are always making noise and for how long have they been your customers?
There is something that i have observed (anyone correct me if am wrong) There are those clients who are always making noise and yet they have been our clients for many years and we wonder why they are still doing business with them if they are not happy when they would have simply taken there business somewhere else. In this case it may not be poor service but maybe dealing with clients who want perfection or who are short tempered by nature.
The trick is listening to them and NEVER argue with them,try to explain to them politely about the company policies.Better still create time to go and visit them go through the policies together.You may be surprised the client/s may change there attitude.
I want to give you an example. A few years back when i was still in college i used to work part time for a bakery that was famous and popular. The company had assigned me several supermarkets to ensure that their products were well displayed and of course act as a link between the company and its clients. There was this client (lets call him Peter) who owned a hotel and had order for most of our products for making sandwiches,burgers etc. Everytime he came he would complain about something.Then there were romours going round ( we believed it had started from one of our competitors) that our company was using an ingredient that would cause cancer to people in the long run. Peter would really make noise even after trying to explain that they were just rumours he insisted that there was an ingredient that we were not including on the package (wrapping paper) where the list of ingredient were indicated.I talked to my bosses about it but they asked me to handle the client as they try to look into the matter. For a week this client yelled at me. At long last i decided to invite him and other clients who had complained to the bakery and see how the products are baked right from the beginning and see all the ingredients that were used.I had also asked them to come along with a Doctor to examine the ingredients if they wished to. Peter was still not convinced saying that i would warn the management thus hiding the secret 'ingredient'.So i told him to surprise me by coming anyday so that we can go to the bakery.He did exactly that.He just came one morning and told me to take him to the bakery.By the time he left the place he was convinced that the story about cancer were just romours. He left a very satisfied customer and from that day he stopped yelling.Later an advert was placed in the media to ask all those dissatisfied customers to visit the bakery if they wished to and be taken through the whole process. Shortly after the incident i left that company but from that time whenever i met Peter we talk and laugh.
Sometimes we really have to go out of our way, sometimes risk.I can say that when i was telling Peter to visit the Bakery i was scared because i had not consultated the managemnt.Lucky for me it was taken in a +ve manner.Visit those clients,show them appreciation and how important they are.For example there was a client who really used to dislike a colleague of mine.It was so bad that whenever he came to the office he could not go in whenever my colleague was in .He would prefer to be served at the reception. During x-mas when the company was sending out gifts to clients, my boss decided to give my colleague this client's gift so that he could take it to the client in person. He even set an appointment for him.Whatever happened in that office, I cant tell but from that day the tension reduced.Atleast nowdays he can agree to be served inside the office.
I hope my long story will help.
All the best.

#3   Posted: 17 Dec 2007 05:32

hi mwachirake
thanks very much for your comment.
Among our customers, there is a VIP customer, who has cooperated with us for almost 10 years. But to be honest, i do think it is a big mistake to work with him. I know i shouldn't have this thinking, but according to my knowledge, i believe, if a customer not only makes noise, but also makes trouble in business to make it harder to achieve, i guess we need to reduce business with him day by day...but, maybe i am wrong. :-)
right now, normally i communicate with him mainly by email, because this way can more clearly express what i want to say, and it can make me avoid to hear his noise, :-) and when he calls, i just say yes yes and yes, :-) do you think it is a effective communicating way?

but i do like your two stories, and i will do once some day for sure, to let him convince our quality.

thanks a lot!

#4   Posted: 17 Dec 2007 06:43   Edited by: kirklott

There's a training video called "The Difficult Guest." It's very humorous and quite good. Please click here to contact me if you want information on distributors who offer it.

#5   Posted: 18 Dec 2007 02:26

Thanks for the response. I think all of us have difficult clients if i may use that word but a question arises here. Do they bring in good business? If they are stubborn clients but they bring in Business then i think we have no choice but try to maintain them because you never know where you will meet them next.You may meet them in other companys or they may meet you in another company. But if they are those clients who make noise and dont bring in Business then sometimes we can reduce business slowly but in a polite way.
I still believe that you should pay your client a visit. Your visiting him could be the end of the noise making and yelling. For him to be your client for almost 10 years is a sign that you people have good services.He could be one of those 'stubborn everywhere/anywhere people' whom we need to understand but a problem comes in when they want us to bend the rules to favour them. The yes yes and yes response to our clients is common because of the belief that the client is always right but plse dont say yes to something that's impossible or a promise you wont be able to fullfill.We can always seek advice from people we report to etc.Am also sure you will get a lot of advice here (on the forum).

Ayaree, I would like to read your take on Swanstory issue.

Kirklott the training video sounds interesting.I will definately check it out.

#6   Posted: 21 Dec 2007 23:19

hi all
last week, i talked with the difficult customer again on the phone. but this time, we did have a quality issue, so i did apologise to him very honestly, and gave him a compansation. he seemed happy with what did. i did say LET'S HAVE A GOOD TALK WHEN ONE DAY WE MEET, to decreased any misunderstanding.(because we are in two different places far from each other)

i hope i did a right thing this time. :-)

#7   Posted: 23 Dec 2007 22:39

Yes you did the right thing.I hope that things work out for you.That was a good step you made.Am proud of you and happy for you. All the best.

#8   Posted: 11 Jan 2008 05:15

this time, i am writing to share my experience with allllll of you! and i do believe it is my big improvement in my CS field.
The rude customer, i mentioned before, today called me again. Our lead time is 3 days, but this time some production he ordered took 4 days, then he just asked for COMPENSATION as always! Usually we all feel tired with this kind of complaint, but today i just made him laugh with some small joke. then the ice between us got broken, and i just told him the reason why lead time got longer this time, and thought for him how to explain to his customers, and said "i feel sorry, and i know you wouldn't be that upset if ur customers didn't get mad with u", then i gave some advice about how to make his customers give understanding. at last, he said "OK THEN, JUST FORGET ABOUT THE COMPENSATION". WOW!!! i can't believe i just done it!!!!! It is his first time to say so!!!!!

My experience told me, sense of humor, good understanding, and good suggestion is very important skill in CS!!!

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