Dealing with upset customers

posted: Friday, May 9, 2014

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Recently, I shared with you an unpleasant experience while getting some lunch on the run. For those of you who remember it, here’s a quick update. I finally received an e-mail from the company with a weak apology but the worst part was the fact that the addressed the e-mail to Mr. Davis. I have no idea who Mr. Davis is but at least they tried to make it right, depending on your definition of the word “tried”.

With that in mind, I thought it might be a good idea to review a few of the things to remember when you are trying to make it right with an unsatisfied customer.

  • Let them vent: A lot of times people just want someone to hear their problem, so let the customer get everything out. Don’t try to explain, answer or solve anything until they are done.
  • Address issues quickly: Don’t ignore or put complaints on the back burner hoping they will go away. Talk to them as soon as possible; you will be surprised how much easier it is to satisfy an upset customer when you address their issues quickly.
  • Show empathy: You may not agree with their complaint but that doesn’t matter; do whatever you have to do to understand their perspective. That doesn’t mean you automatically give in to every upset customer; it does mean you are willing to listen and do whatever you can to see them satisfied.
  • Work with the customer: The natural human instinct is to solve problems but that rarely works in any area of life. Talk to the customer; ask them what would make the situation better. Sometimes their solution is simple and something you can do easily. If not, then engage in a discussion that will hopefully lead to a resolution that you can both live with.
  • Understand that not everyone will leave happy: Despite your best efforts to satisfy every customer and solve all of their problems, it’s not going to happen. Do your very best, but if a particular customer eventually leaves without a resolution, then accept it and move on.
  • Get their name right: Ok that’s an easy one but given the e-mail I received calling me Mr. Davis, maybe it’s not that easy.

Mistakes happen and customers get upset, but if you deal with those issues quickly, those upset customers can become repeat customers.

FINAO - Brad Huisken

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