Customer Success Managers work diligently to proactively create long-term success for their clients. Once a client is onboarded, it is up to the customer success manager to maintain a good relationship with the client and ensure that their interactions with the company are positive. Maintaining positive, successful relationships is vital for a healthy churn rate and overall growth of a company. This is sometimes easier said than done, especially when you have a difficult client. Every business faces difficult customers. They can drain your energy, be challenging to work with, and can criticize your every move. Regardless of why the customer is upset, how you handle the situation is key to overcoming obstacles and leading both the client and company to success. Here are a few strategies to implement when dealing with a difficult client.
Stay patient and listen.
To understand the root of the customer’s problem, you must actively listen to their concerns and acknowledge the struggle they are facing. Practicing reflective listening can help you interpret the issue and avoid impulse statements like “I understand.” When practicing reflective listening, you will want to respond to your client by reiterating their statements and reassuring that you understood and are both on the same page in terms of what the issue is about. By being heard and acknowledged through your show of empathy, customers will feel valued and will be more likely to work with you towards a resolution.
Work towards a resolution.
Once you’ve heard your client’s concerns, it is time to work towards a solution. Make sure to keep control of the situation and avoid apologizing directly, or taking full fault for the issue. It’s okay to express remorse, but stay clear of directly saying you’re sorry. When focusing on what your client wants to achieve, remain confident and discuss specific ways to relieve their stressors. It’s okay to break a big issue into smaller pieces if it will make the relationship progress more smoothly. If the client is still angry and is not able to agree on a reasonable solution, take a break from your conversation and follow up later in the day or once there has been time to cool off.
Once a solution has been determined, make sure to follow through by meeting deadlines and exceeding expectations. It is also in your best interest to have the solution and final agreement formalized in either an email, schedule, or contract to avoid any false accusations or confusion down the line.
It is common to encounter frustrated, angry, and challenging clients. How you handle the situation not only impacts your own reputation but that of the company you are representing. Always remember to remain calm and act confident when speaking to a client about an issue. Mistakes happen and it can feel like you are being personally attacked, but keep in mind the client’s anger is coming from a specific frustration. If you show respect and consideration for a customer and their challenges, a resolution can be determined and you will more than likely able to maintain a good relationship with the client.