An experience with an unhappy customer can actually help a business owner improve his or her business. For this to happen, the individual must learn the lesson embedded in the unpleasant situation and apply tried and true techniques for winning the customer back.
Any business owner who wants to grow and succeed must address unhappy customers instead of expecting them to simply fade into the distance. Although the consumer will eventually fade away, the negative comments and feedback they leave behind can remain for a long time. Proof of these unfortunate circumstances can often be found on the Internet, but long-term reputation damage doesn’t have to be a concern if the business owner responds promptly.
An angry customer who spreads negative feedback can be detrimental to a growing business.
Tips for Turning around a Negative Customer Service Situation
- Take Initiative as the Problem-Solver.
Unhappy customers want to have the problem solved. When contacting a customer who’s unhappy, the business owner should introduce him or herself as the person in charge of finding the best solution for the problem at hand. Doing this reassures the customer that they’re dealing with someone who can actually solve the problem.
- Listen with Genuine Concern.
Whether the business owner converses with a dissatisfied customer online, over the phone, or in person, it’s important they come across as sincere and genuine. Consumers know when business owners are merely paying lip service, and this will only make the situation worse. Assure the customer that their feelings are understood and that the next appropriate step is to find a workable solution.
- Extend a Specific Apology.
A blanket apology isn’t going to cut the mustard with an angry or upset customer. Instead, business owners and managers should extend a specific apology that makes it clear they understand why the customer’s upset. It’s better to say “On behalf of the company, I want to apologize for the defective widget you received,” instead of just saying “Sorry.”
- Create a Response Plan Based on Customer Feedback.
After listening to the customer’s comments and feedback, the business owner must respond in a way that addresses the problem specifically. The company may already have steps in place to rectify the situation, such as offering a replacement item for something that’s defective. Business owners can take things a step further by offering to help the customer personally the next time they come into the store or to offer online or phone assistance for something purchased on the Internet. Going the extra mile is an effective way to win an unhappy customer back.
- Ask for the Customer’s Business.
Once the businessperson has communicated with the customer to find a solution, he or she should ask for their business. Make it clear to the customer that they’re a valued member of the business’s community. Business owners and managers can let the customer know they’d like the chance to provide them with a positive experience the next time around.
A quick, appropriate response can bring an unhappy customer back.
Once Things Are Under Control
It shouldn’t take more than one unpleasant experience for a business owner to realize that proactive measures are more effective when it comes to customer service than having to respond to an unhappy customer. The tips mentioned here represent just a portion of the steps a business owner can take to set things right with a customer who’s disappointed, angry, or upset.
Although the situation might be slightly different when dealing with aÂ customer who’s downright nasty, the principles applied are still the same: an unhappy customer will wreak havoc on a business’s reputation unless the business owner rectifies the situation.
Mary YliselaÂ is a writer and business coach who focuses on topics such as business-building and social media marketing. She promotes a proactive approach when it comes to online reputation management, including the use ofÂ Reputation.com reviews.