Customer Service

Coping With Serial Complainers

To handle constant complainers, keep your wits about you.

“Some people just love to complain,” says Ron Kaufman, author of Uplifting Service: The Proven Path to Delighting Your Customers, Colleagues, and Everyone Else You Meet (www.upliftingservice.com). You know the type — you do your utmost, but they still find flaws or expect special treatment. “These kinds of customers complain, not so that they can become satisfied, but because they are never satisfied,” he says. “To handle them, keep your wits about you. Don’t let their lack of manners bring your manners down. Don’t let their bad mood infect yours.”

If your salon setup allows it, he advises finding strength in numbers. “In advance, work out with your colleagues when and how to support each other when a serial complainer shows up. Being served by you in tandem with a colleague or two will cause many serial complainers to back down or at least calm down,” he says. “Finally, just before the complainer departs, let her know you are genuine about welcoming her back and wanting her to be happy. Most people — including serial complainers — will reflect on their behavior later in the day and feel awkward or even ashamed. You want their final memory of you to be powerful and positive.”

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