When you look for the positive qualities of your challenging customer, you increase your ability to connect with that customer and enjoy your time together. How you think about your customers influences how you respond to them. When you begin noticing the positive qualities, your clients will start responding to your differently, because how you act is determined by how you think.
- Marilyn Suttle and Lori Jo Vest, Who's Your Gladys?
So much of life is all about how you choose to look at the world (see here and here for some posts on this very topic). Try this exercise: write down a list of traits or actions that your upset customers frequently demonstrate. Try to come up with at least 10 - 15 separate examples. Next to each item, write a sentence either replacing the word with a more positive version, or write an explanation of why he/she might be acting that way.
Two examples to get you started -
- Customer is stingy. The customer is very money conscious and economical and wants to make sure that she gets the best value available.
- Customer always seems to raise his voice. He's worried that no one is really listening to his issue. Perhaps he's had bad experiences in the past, too, where he was ignored.
Try making the above shift in your language in all aspects: how you describe your customers (or anyone else) to others, how you write about them (if you keep customer profiles), and how you think about them. Doing so continuously will shift your attitude towards your challenging customers and make you better able to serve them without stress for yourself or for your customer.