When I started writing I thought I was finally free from all that customer service stuff that I had to do in retail. It didn’t take me long to realize I was wrong. We all have to deal with customers because, like it or not, we are all trying to sell something. Whether it is a product, our services, or just ourselves, we all have “customers” that we have to cater to. Although I was no longer face to face with my customers, there are still many things that paralleled what I had to do when I was. Here are some tips to deal with the customers in your life.

1. Recognize that you do have customers. If you think you don’t have any, you should re-evaluate. You do. It could be someone you want to buy your latest book, or that editor you are trying to impress.

2. Know what you want and what you are willing to do. You can’t make everyone happy, although you should not stop trying. There are limits to what you can do or should do, and knowing them upfront can save you a lot of hassle later. Compromising is a part of life, but understanding what you won’t give in on will save you time when dealing with difficult customers.

3. Know what your customer expects. If your customer is a reader, give them a good story, essay, etc. If your customer is an editor give them a professional demeanor. Tailor your approach to the customer as much as possible.

4. Be polite. Even when they are being rude. You don’t have to be a pushover, however. You can politely end a conversation if you feel that it is becoming intolerable.

5. Weigh your choices. There are always options in customer service. Don’t just react, but take a moment to decide what choice will give you the best outcome.

6. Stick to deadlines. Even if they are self-imposed. If your customer expects something at a certain time, you should try to give them that. Punctuality is important in product delivery, as well as meetings and face-to-face interactions.

7. Consolation prizes are always appreciated. In a way this goes back to compromising. If you can’t give the customer exactly what they want, give them something else. Whether they want it or not, most likely they are going to appreciate the effort you put into trying to make them happy.

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