The Art of Managing Different Types of Customers

Customers as kings, customers in a hurry and undecided customers. Sales consultants face different types of customers every day and each must be managed in a specific way to successfully make a sale. Here are some tips to get you there.

“The retail field is very demanding,” says Patricia Lapierre, executive director of Retail Quebec. “Employees have to be well prepared to respond to different customer demands, behaviours and reactions.”

Although this is often seen as a stimulating challenge, an accumulation of bad experiences can undermine the morale of the troops and the company’s profitability. Remember that a customer satisfied with his service will only talk about his good experience with three people of those around him, while a dissatisfied customer will share his criticisms with… 12 people!

Although she admits that there will always be customers who are difficult, regardless of the quality of service offered, Mrs. Lapierre makes sure that there are resources to meet most of the requirements:

Targeting the needs

This goes hand in hand with good listening. According to the executive director of Retail Quebec, this is the key when you want to prevent a customer’s discontent or to manage a crisis. “It lets the seller understand what is worrying or disturbing the consumer, and what might please him,” says Patricia Lapierre. So don’t hesitate to ask questions of your customer about his expectations as well as the reasons why he came into the shop. “Usually, an employee who is able to meet his customer’s concerns is doing quite well,” notes Mrs. Lapierre.

Conveying the company’s values

“If the company presents itself as the one that offers the best service to its clientele, it will be more demanding for the seller to make sure that these values are well respected,” explains the executive director of Retail Quebec. Indeed, some shops offer more personalized and higher-end service than others. In this regard, ask about your employer’s mandate, the image it projects and its customer service policies and requirements. You will see if the values conveyed by the company are consistent with your own and if you are able to convey them by fulfilling yourself.

Knowing your limits

Even though the adage “the customer is king” is used every day in the field of customer service, set your limits for a customer who is vulgar, violent or too demanding. “You have to know how to decide and say what is possible and what is not,” Patricia Lapierre believes. Calling on a supervisor in a situation that is more difficult to manage can also be a good solution. Being more familiar with in-house policies, he may be able to offer new options to the consumer.

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