Having a few dissatisfied clients are a fact of life, even for the very best companies and technicians. What matters most is how you respond. The consultancy PwC reports that 32 percent of customers will leave after one bad experience, but those with great experiences are willing to pay up to 16 percent more. The lesson: handling complaints right, matters!
Your response to problems distinguishes you from your competition and can establish your reputation as customer-service-oriented company or one that doesn’t really care.
Here are six strategies to help turn dissatisfied customers into your company’s strongest advocates.
- Respond Quickly. Unresolved complaints will escalate and, sooner than later, be aired on social media. Responding promptly and actively working to resolve the problem will improve customer satisfaction and minimize public negativity. Even if you lack an immediate solution, let them know you’re aware of the issue and are trying to resolve it. Keep them updated regarding your progress.
- Listen. Rather than suggesting a solution immediately, take a moment to be sure you understand the actual problem. Learn what when wrong and how it affected your client. View the problem from their perspective and show them you understand not just the facts but also how this failure made them feel. Sometimes, that’ as easy as saying, “You must have felt so frustrated.” Listening goes a long way in diffusing tense situations and helps you develop better remedies.
- Take Responsibility. Companies that are known for outstanding customer service are transparent. They are honest about what went wrong. They make it right, even when it isn’t their fault. They may lose money on a specific transaction, but make it up with an enhanced reputation and more loyal customers.
- Compromise. Determine what the customer really wants and do everything you can to deliver that. But, when you can’t, sometimes you can meet in the middle. That may mean discounting the current bill or delivering a temporary fix at no charge until a permanent solution can be delivered. Sharing the customer’s pain goes a long way.
- Exceed Expectations. Give your customers personalized attention, especially when things go wrong. This helps them feel respected and valued. Whenever possible, deliver more than they asked for, whether this is a parts upgrade, free expedited shipping, or something else.
- Learn and Improve. Complaints offer an unvarnished view of your service from people who are willing to tell you exactly what they think. Mine those critiques, looking for patterns. Engage in root cause analysis to look beyond the symptoms to identify the actual problem. Then find ways to become better, whether that means finding a more reliable supplier, retraining personnel, or changing company policies or procedures. Knowing you’re trying to fix any issues encourages customers to give you another chance.
In any business, appliances may break, deliveries arrive late, and people sometimes fail. To some degree, such glitches are expected. What matters is how you recover. By going the extra mile to resolve problems and delight your customers, you can set yourself apart and, maybe, win their loyalty for life.