How you deal with unhappy customers can determine the success or failure of your business. This is no simple task because contrary to popular belief, the customer is NOT always right. However, that doesn’t make a bit of difference because it’s our job to ensure that our customers are always happy, regardless of the situation.
Learning to deal with upset customers effectively can actually build a stronger relationship and grow future sales. It’s not always a black and white situation, but here are some steps I use when dealing with unhappy customers which have allowed me to retain my clients for many years.
Walk In Their Shoes – When dealing with an upset customer, you need to keep your feelings and defensiveness out of it. Put yourself in the shoes of your client and go into a customer service mindset. No matter whose “fault” it is, the problem will need to be solved and you must be 100% focused on the customer to do that.
Pay Attention To Their Needs – Always start with a neutral statement like, “Let’s go over what happened” and then listen actively. Listening actively is essentially just listening to them entirely and gathering all relevant information to the issue. Resist the temptation to try and solve the problem right away. Make sure you have all the information needed and then repeat their concerns to double check that you understand. Clients like to know that you’re actually listening to their problem.
Offer Solutions – In essence, there are two ways to come to offer solutions: (a) if you feel like you know exactly how to make the client happy, present the solution or (b) if you are unsure of what will make the client happy or they reject your solution, give them the power to resolve things.
Take Action & Follow-Up – Take action and take it immediately. Explain the steps you will take to resolve the problem in order to set a timeline of expectations and give them your contact information. Providing this information to the client will give them a sense of control over the situation. Within a few days after any resolution, follow up and see that they are happy and in the future, exceed their expectations.
Keeping customers happy is essential to a successful business. Try to deal with these situations professionally and to stay cool under pressure. Speak slowly and calmly and everything will eventually work itself out.