How to survive a conflict with a buyer
01.10.2013 22302

How to survive a conflict with a buyer

The client returns shoes that are not suitable in size, receive money or take a new pair - and you disperse, satisfied with each other. Perfect? Maybe yes. If you do not take into account the many disputes that often arise in such a situation. How should the seller behave in order to get out of the conflict without prejudice to mental health?

The return of the purchased goods is a common thing, and the desire of the consumer, who discovered flaws in the purchased item, to return it to the store is understandable. The rights of the buyer upon return are regulated in sufficient detail by Russian law, which, however, does not guarantee the absence of conflict situations.

One of the most common causes of a conflict is an attempt by the buyer to prove that defects occurred before the purchase of the goods. According to the law, a technical examination can resolve the dispute, but rarely comes to this. It is even more difficult to convince the buyer that the money can be returned if the seller does not have a suitable product for exchange, and the returned purchase should not have signs of use, preserve seals and presentation.

The best weapon against an angry, misbehaving customer is courtesy and a consistent smile. Friendliness, as opposed to rudeness and discontent, will not be able to harm you if the case comes to the manager or even to the court. In addition, calmness is the best way to protect yourself from psychological trauma, not to let work negativity into your personal space. The ability to separate the personal from the professional, even if you really want to give up the principles and answer “in tone” is a necessary skill of a professional seller. You remain calm, which means that you do not give in to attempts to provoke you into a conflict, break the script and psychologically win.

Calm, only calm!

When returning goods, we are faced with two main cases: the customer is right and makes well-grounded claims, and the customer is wrong and consciously or unconsciously misrepresents the product information. In the first case, it is enough to carefully listen to the client’s claims and satisfy his request - this usually ends with all the negative. Even if you were not able to smooth out the unpleasant residue and the buyer leaves in a bad mood, leaving for the last time that he will never go to your store again, the unpleasant situation has been exhausted.

The second, much more serious case is fraught with the fact that it can spoil not only the mood, but also the relationship with the management if the client writes a complaint or requires the intervention of a manager. First, try to determine what you are facing: what is it - simple discontent and aggression? Maybe you have a well-thought-out manipulation or a psychological attack, an attempt to conduct tough negotiations with a snap?

If the client deliberately causes aggression in you, do not give in to his provocation. You have to go along a thin line between constant politeness and the ability not to allow yourself to be offended. If the buyer expects that you will meekly “stand under fire”, you need to break the template. You can say in a calm but not instructive tone: “I will listen to you carefully, but you have no right to raise your voice at me. We will solve the problem on the condition of calm communication. ” Most people will lower their tone, and no one can blame you for being rude.

One way to reduce the passions in a conversation is to fully listen to the client without interrupting or making excuses. Having spoken, people calm down and are ready for a constructive dialogue. Until the client speaks out, he will not be ready to listen to you. Do not forget: if potential customers hear the dissatisfied customer, you are likely to lose them. They will believe him, not you. Therefore, it is better to isolate the dissatisfied buyer by offering to go to another room and arguing that "it will be more convenient for you there." At the same time, you can offer the client to sit down and make coffee - this is another way to turn an irritated person into a ready to listen.

In addition to the actual dialogue strategy with a dissatisfied customer, the task can be facilitated by taking preliminary measures. For example, it is known how much music influences a person. Therefore, the situation in the trading floor, where the correctly chosen, pleasant melody plays, will be much more comfortable. Music changes and interrupts the slowed-down pace of mental activity at the time of a bad mood and eliminates negative emotions. Even a person who has tuned in to a conflict in advance, in such circumstances, it will be more difficult to maintain the mood and reduce the proceedings to scandal.

Professional “returnees”

The problem of recent years is not just customers who return non-goods, but customers who knowingly purchase goods with the intention of returning them to the store. In the United States, up to 30% of purchased goods are returned to the seller, and forums are full of tips on how to return the used item, spoil it yourself and get the money back.

Consumer protection has been so successful that some people are turning into professional “returnees.” If a person purchased expensive crocodile leather boots, went to the reception and returned the next day with the wording “rubbed” or “press in the lift”, this can be experienced. But if after two weeks he did exactly the same with suede low shoes from the new collection, and another week later with expensive winter boots, he becomes your constant problem and headache.

There is practically no legislative way to cope with such difficulties, because an experienced “returnee” operates within the framework of legislative norms. Perhaps it will be affected by psychological measures. For example, your store will suddenly run out of shoes of the right size or color. Or to deal with the next claim will be not only a harmless and always polite seller, but also “heavy artillery” in the face of an impressive and wise years of work in trade manager who can convince anyone of anything.

The main thing is not to lose ground. If the “returnee” feels that you are already afraid of him, that you have given slack, he will continue the party and achieve his goal.

What are the general recommendations for communicating with any dissatisfied client, be it an ordinary person who just wants to return the wrong thing or a professional brawler? You should calmly and fully listen to him, maintaining visual contact, not smiling and not interrupting. Do not tell the client "calm down", "keep yourself in control", "well, what happened to you" - this will lead to an escalation of the conflict. If necessary, apologize, but not translating the arrows to other guilty parties, for example, the manufacturer. If the client is to blame for the incident, show complicity with the phrases “I'm sorry about what happened”, “this is really unpleasant” and try to propose a solution. Show that the essence of your work is to help the client.

SHOES report article #111, October 2013

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The client returns shoes that are not suitable in size, receive money or take a new pair - and you disperse, satisfied with each other. Perfect? Maybe yes. If you do not take into account many disputes, ...
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