I am sure you will have heard the saying “the customer is always right”, it is one that is widely used. But is it true?

Sometimes, customers are unreasonable or maybe even rude, perhaps to your people if not you.

So, what do you do with those difficult customers?

Consider that you have a client that is being rude to one of your employees. How do they respond? Do they tell you about it, or get annoyed maybe even upset?

If you have not had any complaints from your team, even minor ones, about your customers then I would guess that they are not telling you.

One of the best ways to calm unhappy customers is to give your people some authority to help them.

It can often help calm a frustrated client, if they can see that someone is taking their situation seriously and are prepared to do something to help them.

I am not saying that they have authority to do ‘whatever it takes’, instead I would suggest that you come up with a set of guidelines that they can operate within.

The first step in creating them would be to talk with your people about the complaints they have received recently, or identify together the potential conflict points. So for example, customer returns in a retail business or unavoidable delays in a service business.

Once you have identified these, as the business owner work out what an acceptable response could be and give them the authority to respond in that way without manager approval. Perhaps they can accept returns up to a certain value without getting a manager’s approval or offer to reduce a fee or cost if service is not delivered as expected.

Giving your people this kind of authority can really help with keeping them engaged in their work and also help improve customer service.

If you have experience of this in practice then please share your stories below, I would love to hear them.