If you’re running your own small business, you know that you’re in charge of pretty much everything that happens there. That includes dealing with customers, whether it’s answering their questions or resolving their complaints. Unfortunately, some customers can be very aggressive and unwilling to listen to reason, even when they’re in the wrong! Here are six ways to deal with aggressive customers as a small business owner without having them escalate the situation or give you unwanted negative feedback online.
1) Stay calm
One of your main goals should be to stay calm. This is true no matter what type of customer you’re dealing with. If you don’t lose your cool, you can stay objective and work toward an amicable solution (even if it seems far-fetched). As well, being calm will help your own stress levels—which can affect how well you deal with aggressive customers or any situations in general.
No matter how much you try, there will always be customers who feel they’re being treated unfairly or that your business is doing something wrong. Sometimes they’re right; sometimes they’re just having a bad day. When you’re working with an irate customer, it can be tempting to yell back, but no good can come of it. Even if you think your side of things is perfectly justified, taking an aggressive stance only makes things worse. You don’t have anything to prove.
3) Document everything
Documenting is what helps you win an argument, should you need to. Chances are you won’t. But having those texts, emails and voicemails on file means that if someone does throw a fit, you have proof that they agreed with your terms at one point in time—and if you’re in business for yourself, chances are people will try to take advantage of that fact. Document everything. It doesn’t hurt anything and it could be really useful someday.
4) Don’t be defensive
Don’t automatically assume your customer is making a big deal out of nothing. A lot of people are sensitive about their money and can be confused when businesses don’t make them feel like they’re valued or appreciated. If there’s something you can do for them, try your best to do it. Even if they are wrong—even if they are being unreasonable—you have nothing to lose by not getting angry, upset or defensive.
5) Name their behaviour
When your customer is being aggressive, name their behaviour and put it into context. If they’re upset about something, say something like ‘I understand that you’re frustrated’ for example. What happened? This makes them feel heard and can often diffuse an altercation before it starts.
If someone is beong really aggressive, then saying to them that they are being agressive can often diffuse the situation and make them realise how they are speaking to you.
Being clear to your clients and documenting what behaviour is not conducive to being one of your clients may also help.
6) Have your facts straight
It’s easy to get flustered When an angry customer starts yelling at you. Have your facts straight, so that you can provide appropriate answers or solutions. Know what information they want and ask clarifying questions, if needed. Helping customers feel heard—and understood—is one of the best ways to diffuse their anger. This will help you both come to a resolution with aggressive customers and save face with your customer base.
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