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Allan Vides' Blog

By Allan Vides | Agent in San Fernando, CA

Five Strategies to Deal With Difficult Holiday Shoppers

Dec 14, 2011 in Business/Finance

Five Strategies to Deal With Difficult Holiday Shoppers

The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone, including for those who deal with holiday shoppers. Cashiers and attendants take the brunt of the frustration and stress from unhappy customers. You cannot prevent having to deal with unhappy customers, but you can learn how to handle it.


Stay Calm


This is easier said than done, but it is one of the most important things you can do. If you raise your voice, you increase the agitation of the customer. They are put on the defensive, which makes them even more upset. If you can speak in a calm, quiet voice, it can make them reciprocate with the same kind of tone.




Even if you know they are in the wrong, and there is nothing you can do to help them, you should listen to what they have to say. They will feel better if they know that they’ve been heard. Give them your undivided attention as much as possible, and maintain eye contact.


Write down what they are telling you. If you are speaking with them over the phone, let them know you are taking notes. This will make them feel that you are truly paying attention and not brushing them off. Once they have finished their complaint, summarise (aloud) what they have just told you. This does not say you agree with them, but that you understand what they were saying.


Read Between the Lines


Sometimes what a customer is complaining about is not what they want you to fix. Try to figure out what they really want. If there is a problem from the manufacturer, do they want a replacement, or do they want you to give them the address of the manufacturer’s customer service?  


Ask Them What Would Make It Right


Get them involved in the solution instead of just making a complaint. You may find that they really don’t want you to do anything; they just wanted to make it known that they were unhappy with the product or service. This may be the case when a product’s warranty has just run out, and the item has failed. The customer probably knows they won’t get a replacement, but they want you to understand their disappointment.


In the event that they do want something done, find out what kind of compromise you can make. If the product is still under warranty, you can help them find a solution. Even if isn’t, there may be a way that you can provide assistance.


Try To Find a Solution


If you are a cashier or service person, you may not have the authority to make decisions on replacing items or refunding the customer. It is okay to tell the customer that you are going to talk to your supervisor. This way you let them know that they are important enough for you to get someone else involved.


If you are a manager or have authority to make decisions, see if you can come up with a solution that satisfies the customer. Perhaps you can issue a gift certificate for use in the store. Try to come up with ideas that will work for both you and the customer.


You cannot avoid unhappy customers if you work in a service or product-related industry. However, you will get a good reputation for excellent customer service if you can deal with the complaints, and work towards a solution. If you are seen as someone who really cares about their customers’ needs, it will put you ahead of the competition.


By Allan Erps,  Fri Dec 16 2011, 15:18
Or kick, stomp, yell & be belligerent as some shoppers unfortunately are today!

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