Communication Corner Session 3: Difficult Client Communication
Opal Business Solutions believes that being an effective communicator is important within a business. We will provide tips on how to be an effective communicator in our own, communication corner.
Have you ever read the subject of an email, or the phone rings and you see it is one of your clients, and you just cringe? When you answer the message, you know right away it is not going to be good. We all have clients like this, so how can we make communicating with them even better. To do this we must start by understanding the scenarios.
Only One Care – Your client is not concerned with how your day is going, they do not care the issues everyone else is having, their primary and ONLY concern is their issue. To them it is the most important thing in the world, and they expect us to act as if it is the most important issue. Honestly, when engaged with them it should be your only concern.
One of Many – Of course your clients issue is just one of many projects and issues you have on your plate. Even the most trivial matters will have a great impact, and you will have the urge to set it aside. You can’t set it aside, and you won’t.
The Battle Begins – Now we face the head to head conflict. They are the most important, and you do not want bothered right now.
How Do We Handle This Situation?
1. Put a Smile on Your Face. This will help you to be less adversarial when writing or speaking to clients.
2. Remain calm. When a customer starts yelling or being otherwise rude, there is nothing to be gained by responding in a similar manner. In fact, that will probably escalate hostilities. Keep the smile on your face and allow them to vent before speaking.
3. Don’t take it personally. Remember, the customer is not angry with you. Unless you start to give them a reason to be upset with you. They are displeased with the quality of the service or product you provided.
4. Listen. Let them get their venting and frustrations out. After they are heard, they will start to feel better.
5. Summary and Sympathize. After the customer vents, Summarize the scenario and what the client said, so they know you listened and understood what they were trying to communicate.
6. Apologize. Take the high road and apologize for their issue (even if it is not an issue) and tell them, “Let’s see what we can do to get this fixed for you.”
7. Resolve. Resolution does not necessarily mean the problem is fixed, but at the very minimum you have laid out the plans for the next steps to come to a resolution if you can’t resolve it immediately.
8. Relax. After the communication has ended, it’s helpful for you to relax. Don’t let the situation eat at you, take a walk, get a snack, or just take a few minutes to look out a window. The idea is to let the moment pass before you engage in the next task.
9. Follow-Up. – Don’t be afraid to contact them after the call. Show them you are there for them. Ask if things are still working, give them updates if you are still resolving. Essentially keep communication lines open. This will help prevent future difficult communications in the future