Why Should We Be Kind to Difficult Customers?
(Make sure to watch the video at the end!)
More than once over my career, I have been asked by people in customer service roles, “These customers are jerks. Why should I go out of my way for them?” The question, on the surface, seems fair. But here’s the thing. I have seen more than one situation where a customer’s ‘jerkiness’ was actually triggered by the employee in the first place.
What is the cause of customers' difficult behaviour?
In fact, a number of studies tell us that this is true of most customer confrontations. The choice of actions or words by an employee unintentionally creates a negative response. So, the first reason to be kind to difficult customers is because it may have been something unintentional you did that triggered it.
The second, and perhaps more important reason, is that there may be a lot going on behind the scenes that you don’t know. People’s behaviour is triggered by their needs, personal situations and predispositions, as well as the circumstances behind the your current interaction. It is highly possible that their behaviour is not a reflection of their personality, but of one of those elements.
There are a lot of payoffs to being kind, particularly in difficult situations. One thing is for certain – being kind never makes things worse.
Maybe this is the biggest payoff
There’s an old saying that “What goes around, comes around.” Sadly, not a lot of people seem to subscribe to this idea anymore, and prefer a more transactional, quid-pro-quo approach. In my life, however, I have seen too much evidence to not believe it. I have lived and seen countless examples of positive actions coming full circle.
The concept, however quaint you may find it, is essential for a truly outstanding customer service mindset.