There are a number of studies telling us that, in the overwhelming majority of cases it is an employees response to an issue, not the issue itself, which creates ‘difficult’ customers. This is a good news/bad news thing. The bad news is that whenever you’re faced with a misbehaving customer, statistically there’s a good chance it’s something you said or did that caused the behavior. The good news is that if we can learn how to stop inadvertently pushing people’s buttons, our lives can become much easier. Here are three things you can do to reduce difficult customer experiences:

1. Watch your body language

Sometimes, even before a customer gets to you, they will have decided you won’t be fun to deal with. Crossing your arms, slouching, not making eye contact, not smiling – all send the message that you’re not interested. First impressions are lasting impressions. Make sure yours is a good one!

2. Assume a positive outcome

When a customer tells you about an issue, make sure to say, “Let’s figure out how to make this work,” or words to that effect. It sends the message to the customer that you are looking for a positive solution. It’s much better than just saying, “Well, let’s see what we can do.”

3. Show empathy

If a customer is unhappy with something, be empathetic. You don’t have to agree with someone, but you at least want them to know that their happiness is important to you.

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