Learn From Your Difficult Customers

lessons from difficult customers

It’s inevitable that difficult customers are going to complain and they’re going to talk to others about it.

This can hurt your business’s reputation, but it can also provide valuable insight.

If you see it as a learning experience, you can handle these interactions calmly and use them as an opportunity to grow.

Here are 5 valuable lessons you can learn from your most difficult customers.


Your Messaging Is Unclear

Customer complaints often arise out of misunderstandings.

They don’t understand your policies and products and, as a result, their expectations aren’t met.

It’s possible that they didn’t read the material on your website carefully, but there could also be an underlying problem with your messaging.

When you have a customer that doesn’t understand your products or policies, go back over your marketing materials and see if there’s anything unclear.

Create an FAQ if you don’t already have one or add the customer’s issue to your FAQ.


You Have More to Learn About Your Customers

The reason you have a difficult customer is often because you’re not meeting their needs somehow.

Through your interaction with them, you should seek to understand their needs so that you can better meet them from now on.

After an encounter with a difficult customer, see if you have any new data points to add to your customer profile.

What did you learn?

What passions, pain points, or problems were revealed?


You’re Not Communicating Your Value

Sometimes you’ll get complaints about price.

This may indicate that you’re not communicating your unique value effectively.

Go over your marketing material and make sure it emphasises the benefits and value you offer.

Another option is to add value to your offerings to make them well worth the price.

Don’t lower the cost unless your market research tells you to do so.


You Need to Boost Your Conflict Resolution Skills

Encounters with difficult customers can shine a light on how well you handle complaints and resolve conflicts.

This is important for a business owner, as you’re likely to get more complaints in the future.

In fact, some may be even more difficult or completely unreasonable.

Every business should have protocols and plans for dealing with difficult customers.

If you don’t have a system in place, it is time to set one up.


They Tell You Why Other Customers Leave

Most customers who quit buying from you just disappear without a trace.

A complaining customer might be offering you the reason why people are leaving.

It shows areas where you can make improvements and improve your customer retention.


Turn Their Complaints into Opportunities

Train yourself to see difficult customers as teachers with valuable knowledge about your market.

Use their feedback to improve your business, reduce complaints, and improve your customer service.

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Written by 

Co-Founder & CEO of Link Management Group. An Investor & Coach to Small Business Owners, for the past 30 years I have helped startup and early-stage businesses to enter new markets and achieve sustainable growth of both revenue and profits. I have experience across a diverse range of sectors including central government, information services, software, health insurance, pet products, couture fashion, entertainment and aviation.  How can I help your organisation accelerate growth and achieve its full potential? 

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