Whether you call them rude, unreasonable or just plain obnoxious, tough customers can be a nightmare – especially for the lucky service personnel who have to deal with them.

When clients are jerks, how can you and your employees cope?  Use these tips to create shareworthy experiences for every customer – even the rude ones:

Keep a cool head.  If somebody tells you that you’re horrible at your job or that your service sucks, it’s hard not to internalize those statements.  And it can be even harder to maintain your composure.  But if you’re tempted to retaliate with your own verbal assault, take a step back.  Let your cooler head prevail and keep the rude customer’s behavior from escalating.

Address the real problem.  When customers are angry, they often aren’t thinking logically – and they may also not communicate the true cause of their frustration.  So use leading questions to get your client talking and get to the heart of the problem.  Until you know what’s truly broken, you won’t be able to fix it.

Make sure you’re not a jerk, too.  Mind your manners, even when your customer doesn’t.  Give him adequate time to vent and never interrupt.  Empathize with him and restate his problem to confirm understanding.  When you’re patient and polite, you essentially disarm your rude client – and then you can turn the conversation toward developing a solution.

Help them!  Once the customer calms a bit and you understand his issue, make things right.  Sometimes, it’s clear what needs to be done to make a customer happy.  Other times, it’s not as obvious.  If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to involve the client in the solution.  Together, determine how to best resolve the problem and ultimately retain the customer’s business.  And if your client is still unreasonable – despite your best efforts?  Know that you did the right things – and move on.

Look for the silver lining.  Like it or not, a seemingly rude customer may have a valid point – and may bring to your attention problems that other customers keep to themselves

At the end of the day, effectively managing rude customers can be a real service differentiator for your staffing service.  Solving tough customers’ problems and sending them away singing your praises creates word-of-mouth advertising that’s exponentially more effective than traditional forms.  So the next time an obnoxious client starts stressing you out, man, use these tips to turn a nightmare into a shareworthy service opportunity.
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