Handling difficult customers can be emotionally and financially draining, but as Marilyn Suttle points out, a difficult customer is still a customer. This is someone who hasn’t walked away from your company or service, and so their loyalty is still salvageable.
But the real question for online retailers is: How do I prevent this dissatisfaction to begin with?
Luckily, there are a number of techniques that can be used to keep you from working with difficult customers. In this post, we’ll explore preventative measures for online retailers, so that your customer support team can help guide your customers through a happy, difficulty-free shopping experience. (For brick and mortar retailers, please read: How to Prevent Difficult Customers in Retail: Brick and Mortar.)
It’s indeed important to prevent your customers from being difficult so that you can spend your time and money in selling more of your products. But prevention doesn’t work 100% of the time. Download this white paper to learn how to deal with and follow up on difficult customers.Download Now
According to a comScore study with UPS, 67% of the 5,000 consumers surveyed checked a company’s return policy before making a purchase online, and 58% want a “no questions asked” experience.
As online shopping becomes more commonplace, customers want to make sure your return policy suits their needs before they place an order. This is likely because for many shoppers, buying a product online carries a bigger risk than buying it from a traditional store. Customers want to be sure that in the case that the item doesn’t meet their expectations, they have the option to return or exchange it.
Unfair or vague return policies can really upset a customer and, as a result, make them difficult. Create a comprehensive return policy that can be communicated on its own web page.
If your business cannot afford to take returns indiscriminately, consider the following:
Make sure your email support team and chat operators are aware of the return policies and can communicate them clearly. If your return policy has a lot of terms and conditions, create a test that your support staff must pass before assisting customers.
According to research conducted by Steven Van Belleghem, a best-selling author, 70% of customers expect a self-service option from companies.
That’s an overwhelming majority, and points to a growing trend in retail worldwide: People want self-service options, and may be irritated if they don’t get to have them.
Oftentimes customers will have the same questions about a product or service, so a searchable and comprehensive FAQ keeps the customer from becoming difficult.
Additionally, some customers do not want to talk to representatives, wait, or go to your store in person (if you have a brick and mortar establishment). If they have to do things they do not like, they can become irritable and difficult.
The following self-service channels can help you prevent a number of difficult customers scenarios from occurring:
There are so many choices a consumer has to face today, and it can wear customers out to just think about them. This can make them angry or confused, which of course leads to difficulty.
You can help guide their buying decisions by implementing the following:
With a customer-centric approach, handling difficult customers becomes much easier and more manageable. This is because you not only give workers the right to put the customer first, but you identify whom your most valuable customers are, and learn what they need from you.
According to Dr. Peter Fader, author of Customer Centricity, “customer centricity is not a philosophy, but a strategy.”
The way to practice a customer-centric strategy online is to:
While it may seem that some customers are difficult without provocation, they never see it this way. Most difficult customers feel that they were driven to this point through neglect or disappointment. As an online retailer, you should be sure to implement a difficult customer prevention strategy, so that you can give them less to complain about and more to celebrate.
This free training features up-to-date customer service best practices, to help you boost your skills and become a true customer service professional.Sign up Free