Your customers can become unhappy for several reasons, and as a business owner, that’s always a problem that will hang over your head. Nowadays consumers want everything to be perfect, and you better make sure your products are free of defects and that your services are topnotch. Unhappy customers are more likely to complain online in the form of reviews, which can discourage potential customers from dealing with you.
However, there are ways that you can turn an unhappy customer into a fan – one who will be utterly devoted to your brand. In fact, if there’s a problem and you manage to fix it, the customer’s loyalty to your brand may even be much greater than if you didn’t screw up at all.
You just need to make sure you know what to do in case the inevitable happens:
- First you need to have the right mindset. Don’t dismiss customer complaints right away, and don’t ever make excuses for your products/services/employees/company. Be fair, and don’t act as if you’re doing them a huge favor by dealing with their complaints. Remember that this is an opportunity to turn a customer into a lifelong patron for your brand.
- Be ready to respond to your errors and customer complaints. You need to be objective when you analyze your operations, products, and services. Identify your weakest spots and be ready for a “Plan B” just in case.
You also need to properly train your front liners, or those who deal with your customers the most, so that they won’t have to trot out the “I’ll call the manager” line every time a customer complains. They should have good communication skills so they can deal properly and calmly with irate customers.
- Now during the confrontation with the complainant, it’s best if you don’t regard the incident as a confrontation at all. Better think of it as a meeting, and you (or your workers) must never react or retaliate against the customer. Let them get their feelings out, acknowledge that there’s a problem, and assure them that you’re on their side.
Sympathize with their plight, and wait for them to calm down. You can’t immediately go into problem-solving mode while they’re emotional. But when they’ve settled down, you can gently ask the questions that will let you understand the problem.
You can then find the solution together and apply them. Make sure the customer is part of finding the solution, and get suggestions from them as to how to fix the problem. Most customers ask for fair compensation for their trouble, and you can provide the solution easily.
Better yet, go the extra mile. The appliance they bought from you won’t work properly? Replace it with a new one, and on top of that give them a discount on their next purchase. It’s more than fair, and people will remember that.
What’s more, these customers realise you’re not perfect. Yet they also know that you care about your customers. Follow up with them and make sure that your remedies are holding fast and your customers are satisfied with the solution.
When you’re helpful and sympathetic rather than dismissive and combative with complaining customers, you’re more likely to end up with lifelong customers. Take note of the problem and come up with preventive measures that can prevent such incidents from happening again. You can’t eliminate future problems entirely, but at least you can turn a liability into an asset.