A lot is made about bad customer service. But let me tell you, customers themselves are no picnic.
Tom Peters once said “when your flight is messed up and you approach the counter, treat that person like she is the only person in the world that can help you. Because she is.” A lot of customers haven’t gotten that memo.
So what does this mean?
It means that no matter what you do, you and your staff may have to deal with a tough (sometimes irrational) customer.
Think about your rules of engagement in that situation. Does your staff know when to:
Escalate—when is it appropriate to call in their manager for support?
Defuse—Does your staff use humor and empathy to defuse a situation?
Withdraw—There is a line between dealing with a difficult customer and putting up with harassment. Be sure your organization makes it clear that that line exists, and it’s ok to withdraw from a situation when necessary.
Because try as you might, tough customers are coming to a registration desk, renewal line or committee meeting near you.