It has happened to many business owners and those working for them: Someone comes into the business, calls, or emails you and they say they have a problem.
They may have a problem with an employee, with a product, or with you. No matter the conflict, you have to have a plan as to how you are going to resolve that conflict.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Keep in mind that many times, a customer conflict has to do with how a customer perceived a situation or how they perceive the performance of a product. Everyone is different. That's what makes them individuals.
If you enter into the situation respecting the person's opinion and their conflict, you are having a rational approach to the problem. No, no one wants to have a customer conflict, but it happens. By having an understanding of the customer's situation, you are able to be more open to the customer and they will sense this.
Know the conflict styles
There are different conflict styles that you need to be aware of. By being able to identify each type, you will know how to address each situation:
- Competitive – These individuals are those who take a stand. They want to compete with you rather than collaborate with you to find a solution. You have to try to calm down this competitive side by saying statements such as "Let's work together to find a solution for you" and such. However, these situations do tend to leave people feeling bruised.
- Collaborative – This is the type of individual you want to complain because they are willing to work together to find a solution. Collaborative conflict resolution means finding a conclusion that meets the needs of everyone involved.
- Accommodating – This is a type that you will not find often. This usually occurs on the side of your business because this is the type of person who will do what is best for everyone at their own expense. The business is usually the accommodating party.
- Compromising – The compromising individual is someone willing to find a conclusion that will meet everyone's needs in some way. Not everyone will like it, but they realize that the solution is the best for all involved.
- Avoiding – This is definitely not the type of customer you will encounter, but you may have employees of this type. Employees of this type tend to be those who will do all that they can to avoid dealing with a conflict. This type is usually not what you will find amongst management.
You need to know the different conflict personality types so that you can deal with customers, clients, and employees who may bring a conflict to you. You most likely have all types working amongst your staff, calling you, emailing you, and walking through your door from day-to-day
Think with your head
No matter the situation or the type of person you are dealing with, you need to think with your head. Sometimes people will complain to get something for nothing. Other times, it is how they perceive a situation and other things happening in their lives can make a situation seem so much bigger than what it is.