Benchmark Business Group

3 tips for Dealing with Upset Clients

May 21, 2019

Dealing with difficult or even upset clients is something that can’t always be avoided. Clients will not always like decisions that are made or rules that must be followed. Yet, your agency still has to find a way to engage with these clients in a way that leaves them feeling good about their experience and willing to buy from you in the future.

The worst part is that you sometimes can’t fix what a client is upset about. It may be out of your control such as a claim that was denied or a billing issue. But, to the customer there is no difference between your agency and decisions that come from your product producers. Your agency still needs to service the client in a way that allows them to move past the issue and remain your client.

In Optimal Outcome, we call this Taking the H.E.A.T. It’s a step-by-step process that you can teach your team to deal with difficult clients in a manner that shows them that your agency cares and is there to help them.

You can’t always control the outcome, but you can control how your team is prepared to handle these difficult situations. We can’t cover Take the H.E.A.T. in detail in this newsletter, but we can give you three tips that can help shape a productive conversation with upset clients.

  • Truly listen to your client. You may have heard similar issues from other clients. You may think you already know the answer. And you may know the answer. Yet, when you jump to conclusions, you cut the client off. You don’t let them voice their frustration. Sure, it might be faster, but it’s not the experience you want clients to have. Slow down. Let the client speak and ask questions to hear their frustration and understand the root cause of the problem.
     
  • Be realistic. When a client is in front of you and visibly upset it’s tempting to promise things that you may not be able to deliver. Use language that assures them you want to help them, but don’t promise an outcome until you know you can deliver. Example: I understand your frustration. I promise I’ll help you get to the bottom of this.
     
  • Show Concern. Your client may see an issue as a big deal when to you it’s not that big of a deal. Especially, not compared to the hundred other items on your to-do list. Remember, it’s not about you. It’s about them. It’s their perception that makes the difference. Showing concern will make the conversation smoother, but will also leave them with a better experience, something they will remember.

Taking the H.E.A.T. is more nuanced than these three tips, but these three will help you shape the conversation with a difficult client to be more collaborative. When you change the tone of the conversation from difficult and upset to collaborative, you’re able to change the experience for the client.

They may not walk away with the exact outcome they want, but they walk away with a positive experience with your team. An experience that makes them feel cared for and appreciated as a client.

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