The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten on Smash Notes

The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten podcast.

December 31, 2019

Unfiltered insights and actionable advice straight from the trenches of startup and business life. The show hosts, Steli Efti and Hiten Shah, are both serial entrepreneurs who have founded multi-million dollar SaaS startups. Being busy CEOs of fast-growing companies, they know the value of your time and make sure you get the most out of each 22 minute episode. Tune in for new episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to handle working with customers who are dissatisfied and escalate dissatisfaction into abuse. They give you advice as to what you should do and the best attitude to have when facing such a difficult and challenging situation.  

Angry customers can erupt with abusive behaviour and become acutely confrontational. ‘The customer is always right’ doesn't mean that you have to take everything they send your way nor do you have to give them everything they ask for.

‘The customer is always right’ is something that we have all heard and try to abide by in an attempt to give fantastic customer service. But setting boundaries and learning to respect each other in the transaction of daily life and business is a much healthier approach.

Tune into this week’s episode of The Startup Chat to learn how to set your boundaries and communicate them precisely so that those valuable customers that you would like to retain don't cross the line and make your life miserable. Also get Steli and Hiten’s top tips for the mindset to support these challenging situations.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:27  Defining the context of abusive customers.

00:50 The mindset of dealing with challenging customers.

02:59 The social dynamics of Aggressive behaviour.

05:40 The distinction of challenging customers.

07:01 Firing Customers for the well being of the company.

07:40 How does self-respect help manage challenging situations?.

08:15 What rules do you have for relationships in your life and business?.

08:55 Why Customers get Angry.

19:43 The standards that we set for managing connections.  

10:10 Steli and Hiten’s top tips.

3 Key Points:

Don’t trigger them and don’t get triggered yourself.

Respond from a place where you don’t get sucked into their emotional turmoil.

Customers are usually angry and mad because they are not satisfied yet.



Steli Efti: Everybody this is Steli Efti.



Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And what we're gonna talk about today is how to deal with abusive customers. Which is kind of the extreme version of it. But basically a customer that just is not treating you or your team well when you're talking to them, responding to them, et cetera. But they are a customer meaning they paid you. Is that kind of the context you have?



Steli Efti: Yeah they are a customer, maybe, I mean, maybe they want to be a customer right? So they are an abusive prospect maybe.



Hiten Shah: Sure, prospect. Yeah. Sure.



Steli Efti: Yeah.



Hiten Shah: Okay. So, I'll start with the first thought I have on that. I have seen more what we would label as abusive or you know, not so great customers, back off and even flip their opinion, become the opposite of that just by hearing them out, not reacting, not thinking that they're are being abusive, instead just being like, "Okay, well you know, I hear you." You know, it's like dealing, honestly I put my, for lack of a better word, I put my parent hat on and I treat them like a child.



Steli Efti: Mm-hmm (affirmative).



Hiten Shah: And what I mean by that is, I realize that something might be going on, they might be emotional, feelings are usually involved when people get abusive or mean, or nasty, you know, which is totally cool. I don't apologize though. I'm not a fan of saying sorry unless I really have to because that's admitting I did something wrong. Most of the time when a customer's abusive or something like that, you didn't do anything wrong. And so then I just hear them out like, "Okay. Please tell me more. What's making you feel like this?

Key points in this episode

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