What do you do with a consumer who doesn’t respect you, won’t acknowledge your e-mails, treats you like dirt and then refuses to discuss their problems with you?
You could of course get a gun out and shoot them [not advised], and that may well be going just a Small too far (even although you may well really feel that’s the only remedy when you’ve just taken yet another ear bashing or are reeling from the most recent e-mail bombardment).
At times the individual in a key choice-creating role or at the helm of an organisation, at times forgets how crucial their behaviour is. It\’s like they are immune and can do specifically what they like – leaving a trail of destruction and low morale in their wake. Take the recent case of the Police Commander Ali Dizae who was lately given a 4 year prison term for framing an innocent man over a individual dispute around cash. He utilized his position to bully and intimidate other people, and in so performing turned himself into a ‘Criminal In Uniform’.
I discover it strange that some extremely intelligent individuals in positions of responsibility could be totally inept at dealing with others, regardless of their credentials.
It\’s the ‘my way or the highway’ brigade; e.g. the senior manager who by no means sends an e-mail in their own name so that can’t be held responsible for any of their own decisions, the boss who’s fixated with digging up the shortcomings of their colleagues in an attempt to divert attention away from their own. The key choice-maker unable to discuss any problems with their suppliers in a civilised manner, leading to a total breakdown in communication.
Meanwhile their colleagues and Customers invest their time avoiding them, complying or ending up on lengthy term sick leave simply because they really feel powerless to do anything around it. At times these issues arise simply because the individual in charge has a profile which doesn’t make them the greatest individual to manage staff problems or talk to suppliers for example. They need to by no means have been given the responsibility of managing other people. I’ve worked alongside a lot more than 1 individual who possessed technical brilliance, but had been hopeless at handling staff problems. And they had been so out of touch, it took a staff crisis of mammoth proportions for them to acknowledge this and for the issue to be faced head on.
But what if you\’re a supplier or Company stuck with a toxic customer who’s on a power trip, and feels the should assert themselves and in so performing is making use of you as a punch bag?
- Firstly, even if it goes against the grain of “offering 100% customer satisfaction”, make it your chief aim in life from now on, to get rid of them as a customer. The energy expanded in keeping them sweet just isn’t worth it. It will wear you down and destroy your enthusiasm and confidence.
- Resolve not to get drawn into any petty mind games or fights. Talk adult to adult and do not fall for the parent/teacher control drama – some people relish humiliating other people – don\’t give an inch if you suspect that this is their game.
- Bear in mind, the only individual you have any control over – is your self. Attempting to appease or cater to the giant ego screaming down the phone will only make them grow stronger. Focus on your self and your response and what you value. If you know you\’re performing a great job – keep reminding them of that. Stick to the facts as you discover them. If you begin to make allowances in the beginning – what next?
- If a customer is unable to express their concerns in an adult way – It\’s their problem. You don\’t require those type of Customers simply because their toxic influence will eat away at you.
- Discover from the expertise, i.e. the next time take time to explain to your Customers what your terms of service are – e.g. incorporate normal reviews or face to face meetings. Explain that you are in the Enterprise of creating lengthy term relationships and you encourage and anticipate your Customers to be up front and honest around any problems. You are not a mind reader and are usually there to assist when issues are brought to your attention early sufficient.
- Follow your gut instinct. If some thing doesn’t really feel correct around a customer in the beginning – or they demonstrate poor behaviour – walk away. Stand up for your self and your values. If you compromise proper from the commence you are setting your self up for much more issues later on.
- State your terms clearly in writing – so if they commence to muck you about at least you’ve got some recourse ought to issues turn nasty – tell them what their responsibilities as a customer are.
- Make it clear that all your Customers are pleased with your terms as a rule, and remind them that It\’s really OK for them to bring their concerns to your attention, simply because you pride your self in delivering top quality. So, It\’s truly in their interests to be honest and up front with you.
- Discover out what their prior experiences of working with consultants or supplier has been like. If they have any concerns arising from this, you can address any concerns up front and reassure them which in itself will go a lengthy way to developing trust and transparency.
What has been your encounter of dealing with toxic Customers? Did you do anything differently? What would you do if it happened to you?