Let’s face it; in the modern digital economy, every customer has a plethora of demands they expect to be met the minute they walk in the door, and consumers want quicker, easier, and cheaper service than ever before. What’s worse, now that everyone has access to a smartphone or computer, bad reviews can pop up instantly after your customers are let down, and your business could be mired by unrealistic expectations for weeks, months, or even years.
So how should your company handle customers that hold unrealistic expectations, and how can you ensure that your consumers know what to realistically expect when they walk through your front doors? Follow these tips, and you’ll soon be rid of customers who simply don’t have manageable expectations and can never be pleased.
Getting past the entitlement mentality
Before you can grapple with customers with unrealistic expectations, you’ll need to know where they come from. More so than any other time, today’s digital age is lavish with luxuries, and modern consumers have few wants that aren’t instantly catered to. That’s why it’s important that you set realistic expectations for your customers, particularly when you commit to digital advertising strategies, to ensure that they have a realistic picture of your business in mind when they visit your brick and mortar locations.
The first thing your business should be focusing on, then, is crafting an honest and transparent marketing strategy. You can’t possibly get mad at your customers for having unrealistic expectations if you yourself marketing your goods or services as being light years ahead of your competitors; if you make a claim, especially in a digital advertisement that can linger around the web forever, be sure that you can put your money where your mouth is.
Sometimes, however, it’s not you nor your business’ fault that you have to deal with a customer with unrealistic demands; some people simply can’t be reasoned with, and will expect everything in the store plus the shirt on your back, too. When you’re dealing with these consumers, it’s best that you’ve a readily established customer service department ready to take on their demands, so that your floor managers and retail workers don’t lose any time at all dealing with the few bad apples.
It can’t be stressed enough that emphasizing transparency in your business operations will save you from a world of hurt derived from customers who feel cheated; if your company’s workplace culture is open for all to see, your customers are less likely to think they’re being robbed, brushed under the rug, and ignored in perpetuity. Of course, at the end of the day, you simply can’t control the actions of other people, so what should you do when a customer goes berserk, and starts demanding that heads roll because they didn’t instantly get what they came in for?
Understanding conflict resolution
Your business is shooting itself in the foot if it doesn’t have a team of managers or customer service reps trained in conflict resolution on standby to deal with any customer-initiated meltdowns if they aren’t happy with the Creative Cabinets and Faux Finishes you have set up for them. Particularly around the holiday season, when customers have their family and friends on their minds and desperately need to get a hold of a specific gift at the last minute, you should expect a mess on your hands. During those times, you’ll be glad you invested in the appropriate training regime ahead of time, thus ensuring that your business was well-prepared for the customer-led Armageddon soon to descend on you.
Many of the same key steps that are useful when it comes to solving workplace disputes are actually invaluable when it comes to managing customers, too; controlling your emotions, having clear and concise channels of communication, and establishing a clear chain of command so that the responsible employees are in the right place at the right time will be imperative towards your success when it comes to tangling with upset customers or angry workers alike.
Of course, like all emergency-management operations or business negotiations, you’ll have to be prepared to make some concessions, too. It won’t always be easy to smile at a customer who is berating you, or at a client who is demanding a project get done on a slim timeline, but it’s imperative that you know the right time and place to keep quiet and offer something up to your customer or client to make them happy. Don’t be afraid to take a mild loss or suffer a short-term setback, if it prevents an even bigger disaster from blowing up in your face or retains a valuable client. Don’t be scared to handle customers with unrealistic expectations; with the right employees, and an established conflict-resolution scheme, your business will be solving any dilemmas it encounters in no time. When it comes to pleasing your customers, never be afraid to promise them the world – but be sure that you follow up on your promises, too.