“We see our clients as the guests at a party in which we are the hosts. Our job is to make the customer experience a little better every day.” This is how Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, sums up the importance of sparing no effort to achieve maximum customer satisfaction. But what happens when, despite everything, something does not go as planned? How to deal with an unhappy customer?
Paying maximum attention to this issue is not a simple whim, but a real necessity for any business. The figures speak for themselves: according to a study by Accenture, it is 10 times more expensive to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. And if we add another piece of information to the report – half of the consumers abandon a brand because of poor service – we can understand to what extent it is important to keep customers satisfied.
Attending to an unhappy customer is not an easy task, especially when the damage is due to a mistake, no matter whose fault it is. In any case, these situations are an unbeatable opportunity to learn more about the needs of customers and improve our relationship with them. In addition, it can also help us identify a problem in our business, or in the products and services we have for sale. But there is more: a quick response from the company can not only get the client to ignore what happened, but also feel that the company has tried to recover their trust. In this way, the company can even be reinforced and transmit diligence and professionalism to its stakeholders.
If you want to know how to deal with an unhappy customer, read the following recommendations.
1. First of all, an apology
Not even the best valued companies are mistake-free. Even the most precise gear can fail, and the same goes for the human team that forms an organization. When something does not go as planned, it’s time to listen to the customer and, above all, apologize on behalf of the company. You may still remember the image of a Korean telephone company, which in 2016 did not hesitate to apologize in a video after selling defective mobile phones. After the incident, the company not only did not notice a significant drop in sales but remained one of the world leaders in its business. Through this strategy, he managed to convey commitment and concern for customers, an attitude that was rewarded.
2. Listen to the customer
When a customer is not happy with a purchase, one of his priorities is for the company he has trusted in to understand the reasons for his anger. Although it may differ if the complaint is made on the phone or in person, it is important to listen to him with utmost interest, paying attention to his explanations and demands. When any of us suffers a setback, the essential thing is to feel supported, even in those cases where the problem does not have a simple solution. Therefore, it is essential not to interrupt, adopt a conciliatory tone and be as empathetic as possible. One tip: if the client raises his voice, reduce yours. You will see how the client stops speaking out loud almost immediately.
3. Try to find the source of the problem
In cases where the customer is very upset, it can be difficult to identify what is the reason for their complaint or what is the product that has caused the anger. When this occurs, it may be useful to ask the customer to provide the reference number of the item purchased, or their personal data to access their history and have more information about what could have happened.
4. Manage your pride
Despite the saying that ensures that the customer is always right, experience allows us to state that, sometimes, complaints are not always caused by a company error. Sometimes, a confusion or client error can translate into expectations regarding delivery or service deadlines that do not correspond to the contracted conditions. In this case, and although the company is not responsible for what happened, it is important not to fall into a tone that may sound self-sufficient or arrogant, which could make the buyer feel even more annoyed. To do this, it is best to put yourself in their shoes and try not to make them feel self-conscious, turning to the documentation available in writing whenever possible.
5. Avoid criticizing the customer
Although the client’s attitude is aggressive and even irritating, avoid disqualification or any comment that may be perceived as disrespectful. In fact, the slightest attack could spoil the options of redirecting the relationship between the buyer and the company. Instead of pejorative comments, it is important to put on the table what is the past and, above all, what steps will be taken – and when – to solve it.
6. Offer a realistic solution
For those who wonder how to deal with an unhappy customer, another must-do is to offer realistic solutions, adjusted to the company’s resources and with room to adapt. In fact, promising compensation that does not depend exclusively on us or is only within our reach in a scenario that is too optimistic can make the situation worse, since the initial dissatisfaction will add another setback that will make their anger escalate. The result? A possible loss of confidence that, this time, could be irreversible.
7. Honesty as your best ally
Regardless of what happened, and who is ultimately responsible for the incident, it is important to give explanations adjusted to reality and stick to the facts. If the problem is the company’s fault, customers will generally prefer transparency and sincerity rather than excuses that differ from the facts. When this honesty is perceived, it is not uncommon for the client to offer concessions or unexpected solutions.
8. Transmit optimism
Even when the damage caused is irreparable, it is important to always offer compensation or consideration, stressing that it will be effective as soon as possible. A total or partial refund of the money, a discount for future purchases or a gift can be a good incentive.
9. Apply self-criticism
In the event that the client adds a negative comment on social networks, whether it has a real basis or not, it is important not to ignore it. Offer a public answer in writing as soon as possible, showing you respect and proposing alternatives. If it is an incident related to a specific order, ask them to contact customer service in private.
10. Answer as soon as possible
Finally, if you have not been able to answer the customer’s call, try to do so as soon as possible, even if it is by email and you do not have a definitive solution yet. Capacity to react in these cases is usually highly valued.
These are just some recommendations on how to act before dissatisfied clients. In spite of everything, we can assure you that in Visual Led we work every day so that your experience when acquiring a digital signboard or a giant LED display is optimal. In addition, thanks to the fact that our products are always personalized, you will have the peace of mind of always receiving the items that best suit the needs of your business, with a close, personalized and professional treatment. Want to try them out yourself?