Botswana Guardian

Why customers may become difficult to deal with?

- Phirinyane Moreri Independen­t Service Consultant Client Max Services moreriphir­inyane@ gmail. com

In one of our previous articles, we looked at strategies for handling difficult customers. But from another point of view, some clients felt this was not a complete engagement as we did not address the elephant in the room. The elephant in the room is, why do customers become difficult to deal with? It becomes important to deal with this question so that we use this as mitigating factors to avoid clients becoming difficult in the first place.

In this edition we look at some of the possible cases that will make customers difficult to handle. A lot of narratives have been advanced but we will look at a few and provide insights:

Dissatisfa­ction with the company’s systems and procedures: One observatio­n is that service providers do not always engage the client and make them aware of the systems and procedures while assisting them. They only use the systems and procedures as a last resort to their defense when there is a complaint. In most cases our clients are not aware of these procedures. Companies should make their policies transparen­t and available to clients. In fact customer centricity guides that clients should be put at the forefront when drafting and implementi­ng service procedures. Being given wrong or inaccurate informatio­n: This is the most common factors that lead to difficult clients. In most cases informatio­n on products and services and turnaround times should be made as accurate as possible. If the service provider is not sure about the informatio­n, it is better to verify first before giving out any informatio­n. The result is that if a client turns around and finds that this informatio­n was not true, they will in most cases throw tantrums and prove difficult to handle. It then becomes critical to provide verified informatio­n and realistic turnaround times to avoid such cases. Limited company resources: Resources such as staffing are critical for the provision of good customer service. In some cases some companies may operate with skeletal staff because of a variety of issues. This then makes service provision very difficult. The recent case of COVID- 19 provides a perfect example. Two or more front officers may be on isolation at the same time and there will be long queues. This will mean that clients have to be in the queue for a long time and this makes them agitated. Companies should make a provision for such cases in their operations. It’s also important to engage clients and make them aware of the staffing challenges at periodic intervals when they are waiting on the queue. Bad past client experience­s: If a client has had a bad experience with the organisati­on before and it was not properly handled and closed, such clients will always carry the experience whenever they visit the company. This may make them difficult to handle. It then becomes important to ensure that customer complaints are well handled and closed timely to avoid such cases.

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