You’ve heard the old adage that the ‘customer is always right.’ And the thing is…they’re not. Office equipment buyers will insist they provided you documentation they didn’t. They will complain their invoice is wrong, when it isn’t. They’ll say no one explained how the lease was going to work, when you begged them to pay attention while walking them through everything in your office. No, they’re not always right. But they are always the one that pays the bills so finance administrators are stuck having to manage their ‘perceptions.’
Here are five big tips to handle the not-so-easy customer (taken in part from Rhett Power, a business consultant and coach):
- Listen. Sometimes you just have to let them air it all out. And that can be hard especially when they are droning on about things that are clearly not accurate. But you can’t diffuse the whole argument unless you hear the whole argument. As challenging as it may be – listen thoroughly
- Empathize. Feel their pain. “I understand that you feel as though [then fill in the blank with the summary of the issues you just listened intently to]. I understand and want to help.” Before you say anything else you will likely feel a calming of the entire situation at this point
- Accept. Believe them. Even if what they are saying is wrong, believe that they believe in their argument. If they feel you are questioning their integrity combat ensues. But if they feel you believe in their sincerity, blood pressures drop. Also important is when they are most upset they often bring up issues first that are not the real issue. By showing some sincerity and acceptance, you might get to the real problem quicker
- Respect. If you show ‘attitude’, a face smirk, won’t look them in the eye, interrupt them – you’re not showing them any respect. That can be hard to do when they are all wound up and not showing you any respect…but be patient. You’re tough, you can take a few punches
- Negotiate. If you successfully employ listening, empathizing, accepting and respecting, you will pave the way for negotiating. You will have put the difficult person at ease. You will have helped him believe you are in his corner. He will be better prepared to drop his aggression and enter into negotiations, believing that you will treat him with fairness, honesty and integrity. Finally, always try to resolve a customer’s issue with one conversation. The quicker the issue is resolved, the better the customer will feel about the interaction
There are dozens of things that could potentially go wrong with an office equipment sale. Invoicing, installation problems, service problems or they could just be crazy. But by following a few simple steps, you might be able to diffuse even your most challenging situation. LEAF is here to take complexity out of the life of finance administrators.