“The customer is always right” is something that is drilled into everyone who works in customer service, from call center agents right up to management. You must agree with the customer and meet their demands, no matter what; failure to do so will result in the loss of that customer.
However, as anyone who has spent any amount of time working in customer service will doubtlessly tell you, the customer is not always right. In fact, the customer may often be completely out of line. 3C Contact Services, the leading provider of outsourced call center solutions, tells their partners that there are ways to easily spot difficult customers who, despite what they may think, are not right:
- Some customers have a sense of entitlement they shouldn’t have: Many customers have the attitude that you should be grateful for their business. They believe this entitles them to special treatment and they get upset if they don’t receive it. While every customer is important, no one is entitled to act like they’re somehow more important and it doesn’t give them the right to mistreat your staff and make unreasonable demands.
- Some customers think they’re “above the law:” A false sense of entitlement also extends to customers’ attitude about things like having to pay certain fees or billing. This often happens with customers who have been with your organization for a while. You must make it clear that the rules about billing and other practices apply to all customers, regardless of if they just signed up or they’ve been using your products and services for many years.
- Some customers think the higher they escalate the concern, the more they’ll get: Usually, a customer with a complaint can be placated fairly easily if a discount is offered. However, some customers think that if they continue to escalate their complaint, they’ll get a significant discount, if not their purchase for free. Recognize when a customer is trying to do this and put a halt to it.
If you have any customers that consistently show this kind if behaviour, you have to ask yourself if they are truly worth the stress they cause you and your staff, not to mention the cost of constantly providing discounts just to placate them.
3C Contact Services notes that dealing with difficult customers is to be expected when dealing with the public, but if someone goes out of their way to be difficult every time they call and your efforts to keep them happy are to no avail, you may well want to consider advising them to take their business elsewhere.