Every business owner has at some point in their work life experienced the “unhappy” customer. Whether you are selling a service or a product, there are touch points that can lead to a customer becoming upset and when this happens it can be difficult to manage and easily spiral out of control.
Why are times likes these so hard to manage? Most often it begins with the response to the event that occurred with the customer. Even though each situation may be different, your response can be consistent each and every time with a little bit of preplanning on your part and your team’s. Here are four steps to a successful resolution:
Step One: Listen — Ask the question – “What happened?” You may know – or think you know – exactly what went wrong. Yet it’s also important to ask the customer how they see the problem. The unhappy customer wants to be heard. When you listen to the customer, they will see you as a problem solver and the negative impact will be lessened.
Step Two: Assess — Once you learn why your customer is unhappy, it’s time to assess the incident and determine if this snafu was due to the conduct of an employee, or if it was simply a collision of miscommunication or lack of meeting the customer’s expectations. Whatever the findings, it is wise to take the information from this and future incidents and create a plan of action in your Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) manual to assure future incidents will not be repeated. By assessing, gathering facts and studying the situation – this can become a positive learning lesson within your team.
Step Three: Offer A Solution — In business it is smart to abide by “the customer is always right” rule of thumb. For you and your team, this will require a respectful attitude, an immediate response and attention to the issue at hand, and clear and sincere communication as to what you and your team will do to make things right. Once you’ve made it clear that you understand why the customer is unhappy, offer a solution to make things right. This approach will be far more likely to win the customer over for repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals.
Step Four: Empower Your Employees — Your employees are on the frontline of caring for the customers. This means that they often have better insight into your customers’ wants, needs and behavior. If a customer is unhappy, rather than placing your employee in an awkward position, make sure that your team is equipped with a procedures manual and company guidelines to follow consistently. This resource will ensure everyone has the ability to take the right steps in solving the conflict before it gets out of control. Let’s face it, no business likes to lose customers. This approach of empowerment will save not only the customer, but also time and money for your team in the long run.
At R2R Marketing, we are here to help you with all of your marketing needs. Our team is ready to talk to you about challenges you’re facing, and offer you solutions that will help hold on to customers for a lifetime. Call 757-482-3492 or visit www.r2rmarkets.com to learn all that we offer!