I think most will confirm that the majority of their customers are nice, reasonable people to deal with where there aren’t any major issues to tangle with. However, we all have that one customer who is just determined to make your life as difficult as possible, no matter what you do. We have had one recently who was particularly nasty. So, here are some of my little methods to make sure you and your company stay on the right side of things.
Yes, be nice. A lot of the time, just like school yard bullies, people start to get nasty and aggressive because they want a reaction out of you. I have dealt with just a few customers like this. But I have found that being mild tempered, approachable, friendly and helpful, when really they want you to snap, disarms them and just winds them up further…which is satisfying!
By being nice and helpful, in no way then can the customer go to an independent body and claim that you, the company, were aggressive and unhelpful. Again, putting you in favour of a good outcome.
Contractually and legally, if there is any issue with an installation within the guarantee period, you as the company are allowed to try and rectify the problem first before any further action is taken. No matter how unhelpful, angry or unreasonable the customer may be, always do your best to attend to the work and solve whatever issue may be occurring. That way, the customer cannot accuse you of not trying to sort the problem out and again, your company remains on the side of right and will stop the customer trying to look for loopholes to catch you out on.
Always be professional. No matter how aggressive or angry the customer might be. Remember that some will be looking for a reaction out of you.
If the relationship with the customer breaks down completely, I have found that dealing with customer vie letter is a good way to defuse arguments and keep things on the right track. A well documented letter providing full information and a detailed way to resolve any issue at hand will make sure that your company is protected.
Deny Any Future Work
After an ordeal with a nightmare customer, the chances of repeat work are highly unlikely. However, there is always a chance that the same customer could come back to request more work being done. Be smart, not just for yourself but for the company. Even though times are tough, there is always one or two customer you just don’t want to deal with. Refuse any further work. It’s not worth the hassle and will probably cost you more to do the work than there is profit in the job.
Stick To The Guarantee
Despite a refusal to do any extra work for the client, you still have to honour the guarantee. So make sure you do. Again it is all about making sure the customer has nothing to pull you up on, so by fulfilling all your contractual agreements you protect yourself and the business.
It is important to say that there are very few customers out there that require such effort from a company both to defend itself and protect itself. However, we probably all have the one client per year who no matter what you do, no matter how far backwards you bend, you just will not be able to make them happy.
These are just my thoughts, if you agree or disagree, or think I have missed something out, please leave a comment below!