Disgruntled customers are great!
Deal with them well and win real fans for your business.
But, deal with them badly and they’ll do you a lot of damage.
The customer isn’t always right!
Ever heard “the customer is always right!”?
It’s not true.
Customers often do things wrong.
- Handle the product incorrectly
- Order the wrong item
- Don’t follow the instructions
- Order late, etc.
But not always.
Often they do everything right, and still get bad customer service.
The truth is, as your business grows problems occur, often outside of your control.
You can’t stop problems occurring.
But you can take responsibility to get them resolved.
It’s not about right and wrong
Start with a “I’m right, you’re wrong” attitude and you’ll fail.
You won’t win fans.
Put emotion aside, it’s about getting the customer to a point where he wants to tell everyone how wonderful you are.
A dog with a bone
I confess to being strange.
When I had a corporate job I loved dealing with disgruntled customers.
I was like a dog with a bone.
Not because I like the hassle – because I like the transformation.
I like to see the customer walk away with a smile on his face, knowing that he’s going to be a life long fan.
These are the steps that I always followed:
Step #1: Slow The Conversation
Disgruntled customers tend to be annoyed, irritated and impatient.
Take some pace out of the conversation. Be reassuring.
I completely understand, and I want to help you. Let’s take a few moments to go through the details so I can see exactly what we can do to help.
Don’t be patronising and don’t make promises, take time to calm the customer and get the facts.
The time to review what happened and how to prevent it for the future is after the customer has been satisfied.
Give the customer your undivided attention, this is your chance to show them that you are serious about helping.
Step #2: Get The Facts
Get a clean piece of paper or a note field in your computer and record all of the facts.
You don’t want to have to call the customer to check details, it shows that you weren’t giving him the full attention.
Explain that you are keen to get the facts recorded as soon as possible so you can focus on the resolution.
Record everything relevant, part numbers, descriptions, faults, addresses, telephone numbers, etc.
Step #3: Review The Costs
Depending on the type of business you have there may be costs involved in satisfying the customer.
- Supplying the correct product
- Engineer visits
- Returning the wrong items, etc.
At this point you’ll know if the issue was entirely of your causing, your supplier or the customer’s.
Try to resolve the issue as quickly and cost effectively as possible.
If you can resolve it with no cost to the customer, do it.
If there is a cost, for instance if the customer ordered the wrong item, then try to make it as painless as possible. Give the customer a price for the replacement and arrange to get it delivered quickly.
The cost of solving this issue could be minuscule when compared to the damage a disgruntled customer could cause by talking to other people and minuscule compared to the value of his business with you as a life long fan.
If you tell the customer you’ll call in an hour, do it!
Show how good you are, how trustworthy, don’t make it worse by not keeping your promises.
Step #4: Take Action
Do whatever you need to do to solve the problem.
Do what you’ve promised.
If you have to wait for a supplier, delivery company, or member of staff, make sure that you stay on top of the issue.
This is your problem, you need to see it through until it’s solved. If someone else promises to do something to help make sure they do it.
Step #5: Follow Up
Did the customer receive the item, did the engineer call, is everything solved, is he satisfied with the outcome, does he need you to do anything else to help with the issue?
Show the customer that you’re serious about wanting him to be satisfied. If there is anything else required make a note of it, action it and follow up.
Step #6: Follow Up Again
Remember you’re not just after satisfaction, you want to make fans!
Leave it a week and give the customer another call.
Explain that you’re calling to make sure everything worked out well with the issue and if there is anything else you can help with.
Provide whatever help you can, thank the customer for his business and remind him that you are available to help him at any point in the future.
Ensure he has your contact details.
Now when that customer thinks about your business he’ll remember that you did everything you could do to help, he’ll know you kept your promises and he can trust you.
Do this, and keep doing it and you’ll build fans, customers who will come back time and time again for your products and services.
Want some help building fans for your business?
I’ll be showing you how to grow your small business and build fans with amazing customer service in several future posts. Enter your email address below to be notified as soon as they are published.
Don’t worry you will only receive information to help grow your small business, I hate SPAM as much as you do.