Recognising and dealing with “know-it-all” customers

“Know-it-all” customers are challenging to serve and require a different sales and service approach. They consider themselves to be an expert on everything, and they tend to monopolise conversations, dismiss the input of sales representatives and make decisions without first considering all the facts.

Here are a few common traits of “know-it-all” customers that will help you to recognise them:

  • Think they are always right
  • Speak more than they listen
  • Are opinionated
  • Exude confidence, but are often insecure

Tips for Dealing with “Know-it-all” Customers

Stay Calm and Listen

If you feel yourself getting frustrated or angry with a “know-it-all” customer, think before responding and remain as calm as possible.
Smile, be friendly and courteous, and listen without interrupting.

Don’t Take It Personally

“Know-it-all” customers may try to challenge your authority and self-esteem.

They don’t distrust you – they just haven’t yet learned the difference between opinion and fact.

Give Them Credit for Their Knowledge

Sometimes it can be difficult for a “know-it-all” to accept an idea that isn’t their own.

If you want the customer to listen to you, appeal to their sense of self-importance.

Compliment them and give them credit for their wide range of knowledge.

Present the Facts

 Never challenge a “know-it-all” customer directly if they are wrong because they will argue to prove their point.

Simply present the facts in a concise manner because “know-it-alls” prefer facts to opinions.

Cite some sources or show the customer the packaging/marketing material.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say “I Don't Know”

 Saying “I don’t know” around a “know-it-all” customer demonstrates that it’s OK to not always know the answer.

This can also build trust by displaying openness, vulnerability and honesty.

Ask Probing Questions

 “Know-it-all” customers might say things that are contradictory to the truth.

Challenge their opinions by asking detailed questions about their sources, facts or experiences.

This will force the customer to reconsider making a statement if they cannot support it with evidence.

 What to Do if a “Know-it-all” Customer Tells You You’re Wrong

  • You can’t always win with a “know-it-all”.

  • If you have followed all the tips and a “know-it-all” customer tells you you’re wrong, you might need to evaluate the situation.
  • Are you actually helping them with your customer service skills?
  • Are they beginning to take up time and attention that could be reserved for other customers?

 Very Important Note

If you decide to exit from the customer service process, ask the customer if they would like to make a purchase. 

Let them know that you are happy to answer their questions when they have had time to consider if any of the products available will suit their needs.

Now you’ve learned:
  • How to recognise “know-it-all” customers
  • Strategies for dealing with “know-it-all” customers
  • What to do if a “know-it-all” customer tells you you’re wrong

Let me know your thoughts...

The Richking

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