How to deal with disgruntled customers
August 18, 2015

Accounting professionals are no strangers to frustrated clientele. Dealing with finances can be stressful, and customers in all industries look for somewhere to place blame when things go awry. If a disgruntled customer gives a hard time, it's wise they follow these simple steps to remedy the situation and turn a potentially disastrous situation into a positive experience:

See the opportunity
As MindTools noted, any situation in which a customer is unhappy is actually a great opportunity to demonstrate expertise and quality care. Sometimes, it isn't until a business makes a mistake and rights the wrong that an occasional consumer becomes a loyal customer. Embrace the difficult moments and assure clients their issues will be resolved.

Focus on the customer's primary concern
Often when initially expressing frustration, human beings tend to broaden their scope and list many things that bother them instead of focusing on the one issue at hand. Let a disgruntled client vent completely, take a moment to apologize right away and then ask them to clarify exactly what the problem is. Ask questions that may help clear the air and uncover the root of the problem.

Present a potential solution
Some clients think they know more than an accounting professional does, according to Nectafy, a content and inbound marketing agency. While these customers might know a great deal of information about accounting, they likely don't know everything. It's imperative at this stage to suggest some resolutions in a diplomatic, non-threatening way. It may even help to associate a recommendation directly to a phrase customers used, letting them know they played a role in developing a solution. However, keep an open mind and be ready to shift gears if the customer prefers or wants to discuss a different option.

Stay cool and in control
It might be hard to stay calm and collected with an unhappy client, but this is probably the most important skill of all. Staying cool and in control demonstrates professionalism and will keep the situation from escalating further. If clients are physically present, be sure to look them in the eye. Keep an even tone of voice and use overly positive language such as, "absolutely," "my pleasure," "certainly" and "right away."

Follow Up
After a resolution is reached, be sure to follow up with clients to make sure they are satisfied and there are no lingering frustrations. This is a big step, as it also can solidify good standing in the client's eye. 

Nexus: G-WEBCD5