Inevitably, you will have to handle an unhappy client. It is simply unavoidable in an agent’s line of work. How you approach the situation can make all the difference though. Defusing arguments with clients is never easy, but with preparation you will be equipped to resolve the situation in the least stressful way for both you and your client.
Paying close attention to what you say, and how you say it, are determining factors in how the situation comes to a resolution. By always staying calm in a confrontation, and following the approach outlined below, you will be able to reach a peaceful solution with almost every client.
Keep Your Cool and Listen Actively
In the face of disagreement or dissatisfaction from your clients it is very easy to let your emotions take over. It is crucial that you do not allow that to happen to yourself. You need to ensure that your tone is always calm, and that you never interrupt your clients when they are airing their grievances.
Start by creating a scenario where both of you are on the same team, working to resolve the situation together. Use phrases like “Let’s go over what happened” or “Please explain to me what has made you upset.” This lets your client know you are ready to listen to them. Now, comes the hard part of actually actively listening to them.
Clients want to be heard and understood in these situations. So give that to them. Don’t try to present a solution immediately, or jump to conclusions about what happened. Just let your clients say their peace while they have your full undivided attention. Simply giving your client this courtesy will be a huge step towards reaching a peaceful resolution.
Make Sure You Clearly Understand Their Concerns
In order to effectively defuse arguments with clients you must fully understand the conflict first. Correctly identifying where your client’s concerns are is necessary in order to find a true solution. Imagine if you did a ton of work to correct a client’s issue, and it turned out you misunderstood the issue from the beginning. This scenario only leads to more confrontation. So, take the time to communicate properly, and ensure you know exactly where their grievances lie. To do this use phrases like:
- What I understand is…
- What is your biggest concern?
- As I understand it, you are rightly upset about…
Repeating your client’s problem also lets them know you have listened to them and understand where they are coming from. Which is a huge step towards lowering anger and stress levels.
Be Empathetic and Apologize
When defusing arguments with clients, being empathetic, and admitting that your client has suffered a level of stress you never intended on causing will help tremendously in de-escalating the situation. Show them you understand why they are upset. Your words, and your body language should both be communicating this to your client throughout the entire conversation. Even if their issue was not due to your fault, it is the best business practice to still apologize and empathize with your client as much as possible. This will reflect better on you in the long run, and could stop the client from spreading any negative reviews of you.
Present a Solution
If you feel you know what could resolve the dispute then offer that solution as a suggestion. Let your client know at this point you are simply trying to brainstorm the best solution, and if they have any feedback pertaining to your solution you would love to hear it. If you don’t know how to best solve the issue, ask the client how they would like the issue solved. Now, their response might not be entirely realistic but it gives you a better understanding of what they want, and how to proceed. You can then work with your client to find the best compromise and solution together.
Once the solution has been decided, and you both clearly understand and agree to it, you need to implement it quickly. Then, when you believe you have solved the problem, follow-up with your client to ensure they are satisfied with your work. Having a quick turn around when problems arise is something clients will be extremely perceptive of. So, it should be a high priority of yours to fulfill any solution quickly and professionally.
Implement a Strategy to Avoid the Same Problem
Some situations may be simply due to difficult people, but if the same issue comes up with multiple clients action needs to be taken to prevent it in the future. Investigate the root of the problem. Was it a communication error? Was there an incident with their paperwork? Whatever the case may be, implement a strategy that helps to prevent the problem with a future client. Solving your clients problems before they even have them will be something that catches the attention of many. So, do everything you can be proactive, and give your clients the best real estate experience they could ask for.
It is easy to get overwhelmed with your workload and make mistakes here and there. As you know though, those mistakes can be costly. Especially if they lead to conflict with clients. Now is the time to take control. With the help of a transaction coordinator you will have the time and energy to serve your clients even better, and be proactive in preventing conflicts. Hire one today, and you are sure to see countless benefits that will make you wonder how you ever did business without one.