Cranky customers are simply part of running a business. Whether the complaint comes via phone call, email or face-to-face confrontation, an unsatisfied customer can make even the most skilled professional want to hide under their desk. While we never want our customers to be unhappy with our services or products, the best offense is a good defense – be prepared for when they are. With a little emotion management and creative problem-solving, your business can turn even your toughest customers into your most devoted fans.
Below are a few tips on how your harshest critics can evolve into your strongest marketing tools and spread good news about your company.
1. Give Thanks: A genuine thank you can be extremely disarming to a disgruntled customer. While a whopping 89% of unhappy customers take their business elsewhere without telling you why, they do share the news with their friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. Look at their complaints as insight into problems that others aren’t willing to share and express your thanks for them doing so.
2. Soothe: The best approach when dealing with a complaint of any kind is to remain calm, collected and in control of the situation. It’s important to let the customer vent and release all of the negative thoughts they have in regard to your business. Listen to their complete story and when they’re done, offer a solution that can fill the void of all those pent-up angry feelings. It’s easy to get defensive during a hostile situation, but soothing your and your customer’s nerves will go a long way in the end.
3. Take the High Road: Even though the mantra says that the customer is always right, they aren’t. However, it’s important for your customers to perceive that they are. Don’t point fingers, pass blame or make excuses in regard to their complaint. By taking responsibility for the situation and attempting to solve the problem, you are storing your customer’s trust and faith in your business.
4. Exceed Expectations: It’s a matter of time before something goes wrong, whether with a product, customers, internally with your staff – the opportunities for disaster are endless. But don’t be surprised when they do, be prepared! After an unsatisfying encounter with your company, customers will often ask for much less than you anticipate. By going above and beyond what they need to repair the damage done, you’ll gain their loyalty and bragging rights.