The customer is always right. It’s one of the tenets of good customer service. During training most managers stress this with employees. It’s better to lose money on a sale by honoring an incorrect price or discounting merchandise for customer satisfaction than to lose the sale (and possibly) the customer entirely. There are times that adhering to this rule are harder than others. The holidays can be especially difficult. Many businesses are open longer hours and many customers are shopping more which can lead to less patience on both sides of the transaction.That’s why we thought now would be a great time to share some survival tips for dealing with difficult customers. Trust us, even though our free inventory system is, well, free, we still get a fair number of complaints. Here's some insight into how we handle these situations.
The Discount Hound This customer is looking for a deal and if they don’t find one on the shelf they’re going to try to make their own. They may point out a defect in the product, claim to be able to purchase it elsewhere for less, or simply try to bargain on price. Adhere to company policy. If proof is required for price matching let the customer know as politely as possible. If you have the authority to lower a price based on damage, go ahead. If you don’t feel the damage warrants a discount, say so. Just keep in mind this isn’t the answer the shopper was looking for so the encounter may head in a negative direction. Be ready to turn things around by offering some positive suggestions.
I’m Taking My Bad Day Out on You Everyone has a bad day now and then. When we do, we’re less patient, less kind, more ready to snap at anyone who gets in our way.Customers are no different. You can usually tell when someone’s having a bad day. It shows on their face, in their posture, you can hear it in their voice. Don’t take it personally. If they are grumpy and rude, remember it’s not about you. There are a million things going on in their life that you know nothing about. Respond as politely and kindly as you can and breath a big old sigh of relief as soon as they are gone.
I Know I’m Right Because I’m Always Right This one is a tough one. They come in thinking they know more about your business than you do. They ask about a product and then contradict you if they don’t hear what they want to hear. Avoid arguing with the customer. A know-it-all isn’t going to suddenly admit they are wrong just because you raised your voice at them. They will simply argue back and suddenly you can find yourself in a shouting match. Not good! Provide the information as calmly and clearly as you can. If they disagree, provide documentation whenever possible. Point out where the information is printed on the product label, show them a manual or flyer detailing the product, or give them a manufacturer’s website to check out. It’s much harder to argue with printed facts.
I’m Shopping, I Can’t Be Expected to Watch My Kids at the Same Time. You know this one, blissfully shopping while their children run wild through your store. Hopefully you have some preemptive signage in place. The tried and true, “You break you, you bought it,” is always good. My personal favorite for curbing clueless parents though is, “Unattended children will be given lots of caffeine and a puppy to take home.” If you don’t have signs encouraging parents to keep an eye on their offspring, or if these gentle reminders aren’t working, it’s okay to speak to the parent - particularly if the child’s safety is a concern. Another way to minimize the potential for disaster here is to have a designated kid-friendly area. An employee can redirect the unruly pintsize shoppers to their area and hopefully channel that energy into a safer activity.
As we’ve mentioned in a previous post, customer service is important.Often it can be the biggest differentiator between you and your competitors. Great customer service starts with your employees but it doesn’t end there. Having the right tools backing up your business can really help your employees put their best foot forward when dealing with the public. Behind every successful business is a great inventory management solution. Stockpile, our free inventory system, eliminates the headaches that can be associated with managing your inventory. Your employees spend less time worrying about inventory and more time focusing on customers. You spend less time trying to track items down, or figuring out how to access the information that you need. With Stockpile it’s quick and easy to run reports, transfer and track inventory - even across multiple locations. Plus, you are less likely run out of product because with Stockpile you can access inventory data, anytime from anywhere. With our free inventory system running in the background, you are positioning your employees to provide great customer service no matter what type of customer walks through the door. Haven’t tried Stockpile yet? What are you waiting for? Get started today for FREE!