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“Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them.” – Kevin Stirtz

We all deal with impatient people – the kind, who are easily riled by anything. These people can be hard to deal with and end up making others around them lose their cool too. Irrespective of the aspect of life, everyone has encountered such people, and in the realm business, dealing with impatient customers is commonplace. Such difficult customers add to the stress levels of the service staff, create problems for a business, and need constant attention from the company. There is probably no business today that can claim to being free from this kind of customer, making it even more challenging to keep up with them.

As technology progresses, – new systems, better devices, speedier computer programs, and other such time reducing and labour saving tools, customers and the society are becoming accustomed to instant gratification, reducing their levels of patience. Ask any customer service person and they will tell you that dealing with impatient customers is an everyday job. With almost everything now accessible at the click of a button, or even the possibility of ‘commanding’ devices through one’s voice, it seems natural that customers have begun to expect ‘speed of lightning’ service, and when they do not receive it, they become impatient and angry, causing serious damage in many ways to a company. Waiting is passé!

However, try as they may, companies are run by humans, and there would be times when energy and efficiency levels run low, which in turn hampers the speedy service that customers expect and demand. Companies need to increase their overall efficiency, such that they are able to provide consistently good levels of service, ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty over time. However, improving efficiency is not necessary only for dealing with impatient customers, but it also saves valuable resources and time of the employees as well. The most important step would be to first identify the reasons for customer impatience – dealing with the customers would then be a lot simpler.

The top most reason for customer impatience would be long wait times, and the resultant boredom and frustration that results from it. Companies often do not realize the expectations on wait times from customers, and end up keeping them waiting for longer than customers would deem appropriate. In addition, what adds to the impatience of customers is the fact that companies do not provide accurate answers on how much longer someone would need to wait, the reasons for the delay, and the steps being taken to smoothen things out. It is important for a company to think about these aspects from the customer’s point of view – no one likes waiting, and it becomes even more tedious if you have no idea why you need to wait, and what will happen at the end of the wait. If dealing with impatient customers is not what you want for your company, then proactively think about how you can make things smoother and speedier for your customers.

Your company maybe dealing with impatient customers because the overall approach of your company may seem like it does not value the time of its customers. Customers are the reason for any company to be in business – customers invest time and resources in conducting business with your company, and have additionally, placed trust in your company. As a business owner, it is your job to ensure that you respect your customer’s time and resources by serving them promptly. Fast and efficient service would, in turn encourage customers to return to your company repeatedly, and tell others about it. This translates to more revenue and profits, ensuring the success of your company in the long haul.

As mentioned, this is the age of ‘now and fast’, which means that companies ought to keep pace with customers and their dynamic expectations. Customers are constantly looking for something new, exciting, and that which will benefit them and their business. If your products or services were what customers are looking for, they would be excited to do business with you. However, if your company seems slow to respond, and your excitement does not match step with that of the customer’s, you could soon be dealing with impatient customers and have an increasing number on hand. It would make sense to remain excited and energized about the offerings of your company, since that would give customers the confidence that they would get what they want. As a customer, you would know that when you walk into a store, you would instinctively approach a smiling and eager looking sales person, as opposed to one that seems sullen and unenthusiastic. The same applies to the company-customer relationship.

Dealing with impatient customers is not an easy task and it would be better to put in place strategies and methods to avoid situations that could get customers to the point of impatience. The most important thing to remember is to check back with customers and understand their expectations with respect to whether they believe the company is doing a good job with regard to ensuring that customers are not waiting. Customers are investing time and effort to connect with your company, and it is the duty of a company to respect what the customer is giving. Ensure that your company representatives are never late for customer appointments, they always call back a customer when required, and show in their demeanour that customers are highly valued and important.

By understanding customer needs and expectations, your company would be equipped to remain proactive in serving customers. This would automatically reduce wait times, and the need of dealing with impatient customers, simply because there would not be too many. Whatever you do, ensure that customers are informed, and know exactly what they can expect from your company. Customers like people who treat them well – this would mean apologizing for any delays, providing them with definite timelines, compensate them for any inconvenience caused by delays on the part of your company, are all part of treating customers with respect and holding them in high esteem. Despite your best efforts, if you still find yourself dealing with impatient customers, ensure that you act swiftly and alleviate the situation. Impatience can quickly become anger, and angry customers are known to vent their feelings before everyone they know, and through social media. Even one such instance can prove to be the undoing of all the years of effort the company may have put in to building the business. The most prudent thing to do is to apologize genuinely, and then swing into action to set things right with the customer. We all know that it is a lot tougher and more expensive to gain a new customer, than it is too retain an existing one.

Dealing with impatient customers is something that every business must deal with. These customers are tough to handle, since they seem to want everything ‘now’, and would not take no for an answer. They tend to drain the energy and resources of a company, and remain unmindful about how their behaviour would be affecting others. Telling customers off does not work, and hence every business must have an effective and robust strategy that allows them to deal effectively with these ‘tough cookies’. It is certainly not possible to control how customers behave, but a company’s response to impatient and rude customers can change a frustrating interaction in to a long term and mutually beneficial business association.

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