You probably already know that stellar customer service is essential to help your small business reach its full potential. But regardless of your efforts, there will always be customers dissatisfied with the level of service you provide. But don’t view them as a nuisance or necessary evil. Adjust your perspective and examine how a very loud and angry customer could actually give your business just the boost it needs.
Below are some tips you can utilize in your small business to effectively handle dissatisfied customers:
1. Act Quickly
If you are faced with a dissatisfied customer, do not keep them waiting. This will only make their issue harder to resolve. Drop what you’re doing as best as you can and find out what the problem is as soon as possible. Remain calm, confident, and friendly, and address their needs quickly. If you absolutely can’t address their needs at that moment, get contact information, fix the issue, and quickly follow up.
More often than not, most dissatisfied customers are not looking for a freebie or a discount. They just want to be heard. Begin the conversation by asking what went wrong. Allow the customer to finish speaking, truly listen to what they’re saying, and show that you genuinely want to help resolve their issue. Being empathetic is much more likely to produce a positive outcome than figuring out who’s right and who’s wrong.
3. Don’t Take It Personally
This, of course, is much easier said than done. The first step is to understand that no business is perfect. Keep your personal feelings out of it – it’s not about you. After the problem is fixed, review why it happened and figure out how to prevent a future occurrence.
4. Come to a Joint Solution
If someone feels they deserve compensation, ask what they have in mind before you offer anything. You may find it’s much less than what you were considering. This is because acknowledgement is what most people are primarily looking for – and that’s free. By directly finding out what the person wants, you can usually save your company a lot of money and wasted effort.
5. Go the Extra Mile
When a dissatisfied customer demands compensation, don’t just accept their offer. Tack on a little more. This will definitely impress and show that you truly value that customer’s business, which is a great way to turn a dissatisfied customer into a customer for life. After all, someone who took the initiative and time to complain might also take the initiative and time to tell their friends about businesses they love.
6. Follow Up
Once the problem is solved and your customer is satisfied, follow up with them. Briefly recount the issue and ask if the solution reached has proved satisfactory. Then, simply say that you’re there if they have other needs or concerns. Just don’t make your follow-up call a sales pitch, or all the work you’ve done to create a satisfied customer could be wasted.
When it comes to handling unhappy customers, a sincere interest in wanting to help them is key. To achieve this, you need to consider the problem from their point of view. The last thing they’ll want to hear is why or how they are wrong. Remember, it may seem like a nuisance, but it pays to do this. Referrals and word of mouth marketing are often far more effective than standard advertising, and unhappy customers present the perfect opportunity to capitalize on this. In fact, in my experience running an online re-selling business, some of my most loyal customers are ones that I initially had problems with.
What tactics do you use when dealing with unhappy customers?
David Bakke owns an online reselling business and is a writer for Money Crashers Personal Finance, a blog that takes on topics such as money management, marketing strategies, and the best small business credit cards.