4 negotiation strategies for managing difficult retail customers

DEAN KAPLAN | November 29, 2018

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Everyone who has worked in retail knows the saying "The customer is always right." Although, the full saying really should be, "The customer has a bizarre, unshakable belief that the customer is always right, and you need to work around that." Difficult customers can cause stress for employees, damage to the bottom line, and thanks to social media, harm to the reputation of your business. These four strategies will help you negotiate with even the most unreasonable customer. For example, let's say you have a customer who is unhappy with a recent purchase. Active listening would allow you to paraphrase her complaint, "It sounds as if you like the shirt, but you are upset that we put it on sale one month after you bought it. I understand your frustration." Then offer a solution, "Would you like to be put on our mailing list so that you're informed of upcoming sales?" or "Can I offer you the difference in store credit?" Without active listening you would be tempted to simply point to the return policy and the customer would not feel heard or valued.

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H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is a global consumer tax services provider. Tax return preparation services are provided by professional tax preparers in approximately 12,000 company-owned and franchise retail tax offices worldwide, and through H&R Block tax software products for the DIY consumer.

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