edmiston

IS IT TIME TO FIRE A DIFFICULT CLIENT?

Difficult-Clients

Difficult clients cannot only rattle you in the moment but also cause long term stress and strain on your business. When a client is upset, you’re going to want to solve the problem, not only for your current situation but also to prevent any in the future. To do this, get feedback on potential solutions from the client. Together, you can work out a solution that fits both of you.

Have you ever had a client that caused your stomach to go in knots when the phone rang? Nothing ever seemed right and no matter how hard you tried, they were never satisfied. Some people just aren’t a fit. Long-term stress can cause you and your employees to experience a variety of symptoms that can all translate into business downfalls, such as:

  • Decreased morale
  • Decreased motivation
  • Reduced productivity
  • Strained relationships with clients and employees
  • Decreased business and financial performance

Working with clients isn’t always easy. To handle an unexpected client blow up, consider these tips:

Stay calm

You don’t want to respond to your angry client in an emotional way – this only escalates the situation. Instead, use a calm and understanding tone when you respond. Always stay neutral and keep a calm facial expression.
When responding to an online complaint– acknowledge the situation and apologize – then take the conversation offline.

Actively listen to what they’re saying

This means stopping and really hearing what they’re saying. Consider the validity of their complaints.

  • Make eye contact
  • Ask questions when you don’t understand something
  • Express positive body language. Open your posture while you’re either sitting or standing. Closed positions such as folded arms may communicate that you’re not interested in what they’re saying
  • Repeat back to the client your understanding of the problem

Show concern and sympathy for the situation

Certain phrases that help you do this include:

  • “I hear what you’re saying…”
  • “I see your point…”
  • Always ask questions

Ask key questions

Asking key questions to bring focus and discover important details that can help you solve the problem. Some questions to consider include:

  • “What could we have done differently?”
  • “What would you consider to be a reasonable solution?”
  • “How can we make it up to you?”

Apologize

This is an important step when dealing with an upset or difficult client. You want the client to leave feeling understood, feeling heard, and knowing the problem is going to get fixed. Apologizing can help retain the client.

Sometimes, no matter how you respond to a client, they still won’t calm down. Clients who are out of hand typically:

  • Won’t stop saying personal insults to you or your employees
  • Won’t stop yelling or screaming at you or your employees
  • Won’t listen to any logic you present
  • Make threats to you or your employees

In a situation where a client is demonstrating the behaviors outlined above, your first step should be to warn them in the nicest way possible. At this point, you must take control and defuse the situation or ask the client to leave your business. In the event you have a virtual business, you may decide that you just aren’t the best provider for them.

Learn to take difficult clients in stride

Difficult clients don’t have to bring you or your business down. With proper client management strategies, you can effectively de-escalate situations in no time. From there, you can strategize with your team ways to meet even the toughest client’s requests. If all else fails – perhaps they aren’t the right fit and will be happier with another provider.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

ARE YOU AN EMOTIONAL BUYER?

Emotional-buyersEmotions drive most of our decisions, and that includes what we purchase. Think about it – when you attend a trade show the smell of freshly baked cookies or popcorn will draw you into an exhibitor’s booth.

What is your company’s purpose in forming a connection with consumers that inspires trust, turns them into a lead, and might even spark a sale? The more brands can humanize their content, the more likely they are to incite an emotion that fosters a relationship between the consumer and brand.

Are you spotlighting your team in either your social media or email marketing campaigns? If you have an e-commerce site – how are you addressing abandoned shopping carts? An abandoned cart email is a gentle reminder, from a business to a customer, about the products added to a shopping cart and ‘abandoned’ there.

Why does this happen?

  • Better Price
  • Customer Distraction
  • Indecision

As business owners, we may not realize how poorly this affects our sales and business. Abandoned carts lead to billions of revenue being lost for online retailers every year.

All is not lost if you take action. Salesforce data shows that 60% of cart abandoners went back and purchased the products after receiving an abandoned shopping cart email. A personalized abandoned cart email reminder shows your potential customers what products they left in their cart and offers them another chance to complete their order.

Here’s one example of something to say in your campaign:

Hi (Customer First Name,)

We noticed you never checked out on (abandon date). Did you forget about your awesome items? We saved them for easy reference. Click here to open your cart. (Cart Link). Here’s a quick summary of your products (Products Cart)

If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call our customer service team.

A number of businesses also add a “How can we help make your experience better?” questionnaire to show their customers that their feedback matters. This is also a great way to know why the customer abandoned the shopping cart in the first place. If there are issues regarding a given product, the data gives you the information needed to make adjustments.

Create a positive emotion. Pull potential customers right back in with an abandoned email cart campaign and realize an increase in revenue instead of forgotten items left in an online shopping cart.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

MANAGING YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION

Online-ReputationAre you helping your customers or selling? When you remember what your customers’ needs are and offer a solution to those needs, you’ll stand apart from the competition. By helping through offering insights and resources you take on a more humanistic approach in how you’re assisting your customers.

As you create content, identify how you can bring in the human element. Outline a case study of how a customer benefited or highlight how a customer can benefit from using your product or services. Your content should find a way to spark friendly conversations between your business and customers.

Social media can play a role in the humanness of your business. Encourage discussion about content on social media, reply to comments, use customers and staff members in your content, and create content about the issues that are most important to your customers. They may be consuming it through a screen, but you can still make them feel something in their hearts with your content. That’s part of the connection they have with you.

When asking people to review you online, you open yourself up to bad reviews, too – and that’s okay. Just remember to respond to every review, in a calm, helpful fashion and seek to turn any poor review into a positive experience. What’s important is that you shouldn’t respond just to acknowledge negative reviews; you should respond to positive reviews, as well. Replying to your reviews will show other future customers that you’re active in your online communications.

Social media has played a role in helping to level the playing field for small business. Most consumers look at online reviews before purchasing a service or product. The Edmiston Group has recently been involved with two separate situations where online reviews were not as favorable. The companies had totally different customer situations that cause the less than favorable review. Here’s the difference in their response:

  • One company didn’t respond to any reviews – a thank you, acknowledgment that they were happy the reviewer liked the service, etc.
  • The 2nd company wrote something for each review they received. Upon receipt of a negative review, they contacted the reviewer via phone, explained the situation as to why something couldn’t happen due to regulations and wrote a response.

So, if your potential customers are coming across your small business online and running away in the opposite direction once they see your lack of endorsements or your lack of engagement, what can you do to turn that around? Online reviews are here to stay. Ask your customers to become raving fans by taking a couple minutes to write a review. Be sure you are monitoring your social media channels and engage.

Set yourself apart from the crowd. Be different by saying “please” and “thank you,” sending a personalized thank you note in their online order, giving a small discount to apologize for a customer service issue and so on. Be customer service focused. Your customers will remember your kindness and may return the favor by leaving you a positive review.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

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