Rude remarks are exhausting, wear your spirit down, are full of negative energy and can spoil your day.
Smart organisations are not pulled down by rude behaviour because they do research on the reasons that cause these customers to be rude.
They weigh on the effects of rudeness and finally come up with ways that are meant to keep out these attitudes.
Once they get the findings, they try to work on their shortcomings and improve on some.
Fighting fire with fire never yields desirable results, but aggravates issues.
Organisations should continually come up with up-to-date strategies that do not infuriate the already rude customer but rather make them a happy and loyal customer.
Most people do not realise that rude customers are as special to the organisation as happy customers are. Remember, some customers become rude due to the organisation’s poor customer service, but that same organisation will still want that customer to be loyal, keep on buying from them and refer other customers.
Rude customers’ patronage is important regardless of their behaviour because it is due to their continued patronage that the organisation’s bank balance will always be healthy.
Watch your tone
There are customers who behave badly when things do not go their way or when they feel short-changed by an organisation. They express their displeasure in loud voices to attract the attention of other customers. In most cases, the intention is to provoke the organisation’s representative to retaliate.
Indeed, their rude actions may make you churn with anger or snap back, snide or even tell them a piece of your mind at equally the same loud voice.
However, this is never a shouting competition and clever company representatives, when faced with such a scenario, must not be pushed over to the edge by harsh tones.
Instead, it is their duty to show the rude customer that they are really the bigger person through using professional, calm tones.
Matching your tone with that of a rude customer will only inflame the conversation, which is regrettable, but a warm tone can turn a hot situation into a civil and interactive discussion.
One can even feel the nastiness in writing in the event that the rude customer decides to vent the anger in writing.
The written response by the organisation must also have that professional tone that exudes its willingness to resolve the issue amicably without making anyone cross.
Making an apology is not a sign of weakness, even when one is so sure that they did not wrong the other party. It is, however, a better way to build bridges and mend broken relationships.
Organisations that cross paths with a customer through their actions or lack of, must always be prepared to offer an apology to the aggrieved customer.
These apologies must always be sincere, especially if the rudeness was as a result of the organisation’s failure in its operations.
In the event that the behaviour has nothing to do with the organisation and its offerings, the organisation’s representatives must be smart with their choice of words.
It is good behaviour to sympathise with the customer, but offering just a direct apology may be construed as an admission of being guilty when, in actual fact, you are not.
Therefore, an apology that goes like, “I am sorry that you had a bad customer experience at one of our branches”, will exonerate the organisation from taking the blame but shows that it is sympathetic with the customer.
Well trained and experienced frontline personnel are fully aware that they should always calm down when they run into an angry or rude customer.
The trick is to let these customers vent out their anger while they wait for a chance to respond. Calm people do not raise their voices but rather they speak slowly in a manner that will ease the temper of the customer. Naturally, rude customers always find it difficult to continue shouting to not-so-loud personnel.
It is not personal
Some representatives are quick to personalise these rude outbursts and see them as an attack on their person.
It is wrong and the representative should never take it personal because these hurtful remarks are usually as a result of something that the organisation may have missed or failed to do that upsets the customer.
It is unfortunate that the organisation’s representatives will have to take the bullet on its behalf.
These mishaps should, therefore, never spill to the representatives’ personal space but rather stay in their professional arena.
Offer a solution
One can apologise, be sympathetic and stay calm, but all this is nothing if there is no sign of a solution to the customer. All that is needed by a customer is a practical solution to the problem at hand and once that is done, it will not take time to melt away the rudeness.
When a wrong is committed, the only way out is to correct it.
Organisations must come up with ways to solve the sticking points that would have made the customer become rude in the first place.
Offering a solution is okay but at times the customers should also be given a chance to offer their suggestions, which must be put under consideration by the organisation.
An amicable resolve will certainly heal wounds and forge new better relationships between the customer and the organisation.
There is a potential of reputational damage to the brand by these customers, which maybe an opportunity for competitors to take advantage of the reputational issues to push the affected organisation out of business.
Thus, it is the role of the organisation’s public relations and marketing department to continuously monitor customer loyalty and put in place damage control strategies that will keep the supplier-customer relationship intact.
Cresencia Marjorie Chiremba, is a marketing enthusiast with a strong passion for customer service. For comments and suggestions, she can be reached on [email protected] or on 0712 979 461