Tuesday, January 5, 2010

How do you handle a bad client?

I overheard a coworker today who got a horrible call. My company had a promotion going on that ended in December, and of course people call in for January still trying to get promo rate. There are times when deals start and time when deals end, and I am too low in the totem pole to make those kind of decisions anyway. But the fact remains that some people are so hurt that a given price is not extended for them that they refuse the product all together. Doesn't that mean the product was not that important to them in the first place?

I do sometimes enjoy the various hiccups that come up based on irate clients, but only when I can actually fix their problems. Many times I've been the irate client and here are some strategies I suggest for achieving resolution:

1) Be calm, cool, and collected. No one will help you if you curse them out. Instead of the potential for getting someone on your side you may have gained another roadblock towards getting your conflict resolved. Being easy going is important because often the first line of defense for most companies are people who are gatekeepers, people put in place to stop you from talking to people with the power to change things. Collected is probably the most important of the three, because with organization you can mention each fault (date and time of incidents helps add to the professionalism).

2) Be patient. Some fixes are not able to be made right away, so be reasonable in your expectations. At the same time don't wait forever for things to get done because for many companies it's "out of site, out of mind".

3) Negotiate till the end. Often a higher up gatekeeper might give you an offer that sounds good...weigh the cost benefits of accepting that or fighting for more. Often it is more useful to accept a tangible benefit that to wait out for a mysterious higher benefit that never comes.

4) Try to have the person you speak to imagine they were in your shoes. If your fight is reasonable this is the key to have others fight on your behalf.

Good luck!


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