Majority of customers are not difficult for the sake of being difficult. I have often found myself being difficult to my supplier but for a reason. Although a few of the customers can just be difficult. There are good reasons for a customer to be difficult to you. You have also to remember that you are not necessarily the cause of the customer being difficult. Also do not forget the customer is a king and can take his money somewhere else. You have to understand the customers’ needs and the situation the customers are in and do not assume that you know them. Take some time to listen to what the customer is saying in order to appreciate what challenges the customer is going through. You will be in a better position to address the needs and challenges of the customers once you have understood them. The only important thing to remember you have to be patient with customers. Some take a long time to make a decision. You will get what you want from the customer if you are focused on him or her. Some other reasons why customers are difficult include the following;
Lack of capacity to serve the customers
Customers come to you because they assume you have the capacity to serve them. They assume you will understand their needs as soon as they mention them. Unfortunately some of the client serving staff are not equipped with the necessary knowledge about your products or services to response to customers’ inquiries. I remember about ten years ago I was at the counter in the supermarket ready to pay for some oranges I thought were meant for juice .I wanted to know from the cashier whether the oranges I was about to pay were for juice and whether they were local or foreign. I was not being just difficult as a few days earlier I had bought some bitter mangoes thinking they were sweet mangoes. The cashier looked at me with a gloomy face and referred me to the customer care desk as answering customers’ inquiries was not his role. I was not amused and I can only go back to this supermarket if there are no other places to go to.
The level of complaining by customers tends to be high in situations where supplier offering the type of goods and services is the only one on the market. In monopolistic situation the customers’ power is greatly reduced as the supplier is able to fix both the quantity of supplies and the price at which the goods and services will be offered. The customers will complain and raise a lot of issues because they feel that the supplier may be overcharging them because they have no other choice.
Denying the customers the right to buy
Sometimes the salespeople literally force customers to buy by forcing them accept delivery of goods and services. I have been to shops down town in most cities of the world and I can assure the suppliers will not give space and time to see what is in a shop. They are very fast at selling to you. It is better for the sellers to tell the customers the value of goods and services they are offering in order for the customer to make a choice. Give the customer enough information and where you can some samples to enable the customer make the decision to buy.
Level of customer care
I have seen situations where parents are transferring their children from one school to another because of customer care. I am sure your choice of your doctors, accountant, salon and other lawyers trusted advisors is based on the way you are handled by each one and not the fees. It is not the cost which makes you frequent given restaurants, hotels, worship places etc but the type of customer care you receive from those places. You have to invest in customer care to avoid many of the challenges people face when they are handling customers.
Customers like any other human being also face challenges. The worst they expect from your suppliers is for them to make your current situation worse. The customers are looking for suppliers who will accord them VIP treatment. Unfortunately we all do not read the signs on the face of people we meet. Many are tired and having a bit of challenges. Very rarely does your supplier make you feel at home. One I was very tired after working up and down in Hong Kong and I entered a shop. The owner welcome me and offered me a comfortable sit and a drink and told me to relax as I looked very exhausted. After my purchase he gave me a driver to take me to my hotel. I felt like a king. But the important information is the shop owners are still retaining me as a customer and in addition I have referred many customers to them. In life you are ignored in many places you enter to spend your money. I normally tell people I cannot suffer to earn the money and also suffer to spend it. The supplier has to treat me like a king for me to spend my money buying his goods and services. You can imagine you are treated like nobody despite your challenges and the cash in your pocket to spend.
John Muhaise Bikalemesa
Director: Big Drum Advisory Services Limited