In foreign trade work, we encounter a diverse range of clients, some of whom are meticulous and rational, while others are relentless negotiators. For different types of clients, we need to master various response techniques. In this article, we will explore how to deal with challenging clients.
First Type: Bargaining Clients
First, we often face the headache of clients who engage in malicious bargaining. A notable characteristic of these clients is that, regardless of the price offered, they always claim, "You give me a crazy price, I know XX company that produces a similar product, and they only offer me 30% of the price you quoted."
In dealing with such clients, we can respond like this: "Yes, sir, I know they're giving you a low price, but our product is different from theirs." Then, we can elaborate on the unique features of our product and highlight the advantages of our after-sales service. Subsequently, express regret that our product doesn't align with their budget, but suggest that another product of ours might fit their budget, and offer a more detailed introduction.
For clients who excessively haggle, we also need to learn to filter. For instance, if similar products in the target market are priced between 8-10 USD, and your quote falls within the range of 6-10 USD, that is a reasonable price. However, if the client insists on only offering 3 USD, no matter how much you negotiate, it's challenging to bring the price to 6-7 USD. Therefore, with such clients, we need to strike a balance.
Second Type: Customer Complaints
As a foreign trade professional, one of the most troublesome issues is dealing with customer complaints. Goods have been shipped, and payment has been made, yet months later, the customer complains about product quality.
Some may think that once the money is received, after-sales service is not as crucial. This approach only worsens the situation. When receiving a customer complaint, a suitable response could be: "Dear Sir, Thank you for your message. We will follow up on this case. We will have a meeting this afternoon with the Production and Inspection Departments (...) to discuss the matter and get back to you as soon as possible. Please send me a photo of the damage." This type of response conveys the seriousness with which we take after-sales issues.
If the problem indeed lies with our side, we need to provide a reasonable compensation plan. For example, sending replacement products or offering a discount in the next transaction.
Third Type: Customers with Rude Requests
In dealing with some customers' rude requests, we can employ clever strategies to defuse tension. For instance, when a customer keeps urging for an order but fails to provide a bank statement, we can respond:
"Thank you very much. Could you please provide me with the bank statement?
I apologize for the inconvenience. The system in our company is quite rigid; all documents for each order need to be archived by the finance department. After the supervisor signs off on them, only then can the documents be processed and released."
If we directly respond to the customer with the company's rules, it may lead to dissatisfaction. However, if we express a similar viewpoint before the customer expresses dissatisfaction, they might feel that we are on the same side, reducing potential confrontations.
Next, when the customer complains about our company's rules, we can say:
"Yes, you're absolutely right. Customers like you, who have been with us for a long time, should indeed have a simplified process.
I plan to have a detailed discussion with the company's top management on how to streamline these cumbersome processes and provide customers with better services."
This approach allows us to gain a few days for resolution. If the problem is still unresolved within a few days, and the customer is pressing for a solution, we can provide a detailed update on the order's progress while simultaneously contacting the bank or even requesting a message to be sent to the intermediary bank to identify the issue.
Standardized operating procedures are designed to control risks and reduce complications, not to rigidly adhere to a set standard. In practice, we need to adjust based on specific circumstances and avoid mechanically following procedures.