Alleviate Customer Stress for Business Success

“Revolve your world around the customer and more customers will revolve around you.” -Heather Williams

If you have a business, you have customers. These customers make decisions with regard to buying, almost daily, and they have a number of reasons why they would go ahead with a purchase or not. Some customers know what they want and will buy, while others may know and yet not buy. The others may not even know what they want, and would probably just be ‘perusing’ in order to ascertain what they want. Most times, they may just leave without buying – whatever is the case, how your company and its representatives manages their experiences will determine whether they leave happily and would come back, or have a diametrically opposite experience. The fact is that most people shop because it feels good and relieves some amount of pressure and stress of everyday life, and they expect that the company they buy from will help them in this endeavour. It is therefore the onus of a company to alleviate customer stress by ensuring they have a pleasant experience, get great quality products, and leave feeling happy and with an elevated mood.

While customers have so many choices and options now, this is also the reason that leaves them feeling overwhelmed and unable to make accurate buying decisions. This leads to stress and anxiety, and added to this, if they do not receive proper service and attention, the entire experience can be extremely dreadful for them, even leading to them never returning to the store / company. A company that understands these emotions and can empathize with customers would be better at keeping them happy and having robust strategies to alleviate customer stress. For customers the ease of shopping – minimum fuss, time saving processes, cheerful service staff, prompt attention, and other such attributes will ensure that they do not feel stressed despite an overwhelming number of options.

From a business standpoint, it is extremely critical to find ways to alleviate customer stress. If customers do not buy, there will be no business. What steps does your company undertake to help relieve customer stress? The most important step, we believe, would be to first understand and recognize those critical signs pointing to their stress levels. We have discussed previously, that when customers walk into a store, they would express some kind of moods, emotions, and behaviours. One of the most common signs of customer stress is when they seem irritable and anxious – unable to find what they want, or would not seem to like anything that you offer them. This situation would require tactful and pleasant handling, such that your representatives are able to put them at ease by showing empathy. This will ensure that they become more amenable to accept the solutions / products they are offered.

Another behaviour, which should put your representatives in to high gear to alleviate customer stress, is the display of anger. This could be in the form of shouting, finding fault, and maybe even threatening to leave without buying. It would be imperative to remain calm and pleasant, understanding that this is only a sign of the customer feeling stressed. Under no circumstance is it acceptable to display annoyance or irritation to your customers – this behaviour will always have a bad effect – becoming a full-fledged issue, which could result in poor results for your company. Another sign of customer stress is their seeming lack of confidence in the company’s ability to deliver the best and on time. They would constantly call to check on their order, or to confirm repeatedly on timelines, and other such behaviours. In order to alleviate customer stress, it would be best to provide them with a confident and definite response, with deadlines that your company intends to keep.

Some other signs that your customers may be stressed include non-responsiveness, becoming quiet on all counts, and in extreme cases, even crying. While all these signs could make your company uncomfortable, it is important to remember that each person has their own way of expressing and relieving stress, and while you cannot control the signs, you should make every effort to alleviate their ‘pain’ and ensure that they associate positive feelings and emotions with your company.

Customers are constantly seeking companies / brands that would satisfy their emotions and make their lives simpler. A company that can do this repeatedly will gain several opportunities for business and enhanced revenue. It is important to understand customers – all aspects of their lives in order to know what could make them happy, what causes them stress, and what your company can do to make things better for them. Companies need to think beyond the scope of their business relationships with their customers. Even if everything seems to be running smoothly in this part of the customer’s life, they could be stressed in other parts of their lives. It would be beneficial to your company and them to evaluate how the company’s products or services could alleviate customer stress, and ensure that they associate only happy experiences with your company. For example – a young mother, stressed because her child would not be eating breakfast properly, because the favourite cereal is no longer available. A company that can help the mother figure out healthy and yet tasty alternatives would surely have her as a customer for life. Serving customers does not have to be about major initiatives – these everyday minute details that make their lives a little bit easier matter a lot as well to customers.

In order to find ways to alleviate customer stress, we have mentioned that it would be essential to know what the drivers of the stress are – discovering these ‘drivers’ would enable a company to ‘weave’ stress relief into its offerings and the customer service it offers. As mentioned, it is the simple things that make a world of a difference – customers already have to deal with loads of complex problems and sift through host of choices, some of which may be useless to them. Finding ways to alleviate customer stress should therefore, be a process and a relentless effort on the part of the company.

While customer stress could cause discomfort to your company, it is essential to business success that your representatives are trained well enough to manage their feelings and emotions. It is imperative that customers feel important and that your company is genuinely interested in listening to them. It is always necessary to allow the customers first to vent / express their feelings post which the representatives should recount their understanding and express empathy. It is never acceptable to put down the feelings of the customer or compare their situation with previous instances – this would make them feel devalued and serve to fuel their anger. The fact is that customers are quick to perceive genuine empathy from robotic scripted words – how many times have you heard a service representative say “I apologize for the inconvenience”, while sounding / looking thoroughly bored and uninterested.

One of the best ways to alleviate customer stress is to completely hear them out, understand the root cause of their stress, and then offer, swift and effective resolutions to their problems. This gives customers a sense of relief and allows them to trust a company more, while getting a grasp on their feelings and emotions. There are several ways to alleviate customer stress and show them that your company cares, and each method must be used depending on the situation, the customer, and the level of stress they may be exhibiting. The less stressed your company’s customers would be, the more they would shop, adding to revenue and profits for business success. Of course – happy customers are the best advertisements for any company!

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