Managing Customer Conflicts

Interpersonal conflict happens. It can happen with new customers, with prospective customers, or with major accounts. From time to time in a customer/supplier relationship, disagreements can happen over quality, failure to meet commitments, or interpersonal dynamics. When problems like this happen you can quickly get stuck in a stalemate with a customer. Until the problem is resolved, you probably won’t be able to go forward or do business.

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Customers Know Too Much

With the proliferation of the Internet, along with blogs, wikis, social networks, and online communities, buyers today are making superior purchase decisions based on information that is now readily available. Gone are the good old days when buyers depended on their sales people to educate them on the products and services. This new found purchasing sophistication applies to both B2B markets and B2C markets.

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Let’s Play Good Cop/Bad Cop

A very common and very effective negotiating tactic is called “Good Cop/Bad Cop”. This tactic involves two or more negotiators who work as a team. The good cop seems sympathetic to your interests and tends to be a good listener; additionally, the good cop tends to provide information and often tries to explain the position and interests of his or her team. The good cop seems to value the relationship with you and wants to preserve the relationship for the future.

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