Turn Your Customers Frowns Upside Down

Despite our best intentions to make all our customers happy and provide the best customer experience possible, sometimes it just isn’t enough. You could be selling the best product and have excellent service but nonetheless when a problem does arise your customers will be quick to tell you about it. It is imperative that our front-line service professionals, in all aspects of the business, know how to handle these circumstances and ideally turn them around. According to Ruby Newell-Legner, a customer satisfaction expert, in her book “Understanding Customers” It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. Our goal is to understand our customers frustrations and come up with adequate solutions.

  1. Listen Carefully- People want to be heard. Allow the customer to fully explain what they are upset or unhappy with. Listen to the key complaints, according to White House of Consumer Affairs for every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent. This is your chance to not only understand what this particular customer is dissatisfied with but your chance to hear a problem that could be affecting many customers.

  2. Validate How They Feel- This skill is crucial to calming your customer and easing the tension. Put into words how the customer seems to be feeling. For example, “I can understand that this is frustrating.” You will be surprised how well this works. Being able to offer sympathy or empathy can be reassuring and show the customer you care.

  3. Apologize to the Customer- It can be tough to be sincere when you are trying not to lose your cool, but for the sake of reassuring and calming the customer, try your best to give a genuine apology. That mantra, “the customer is always right” is very true here. Lee Recourses career developers, states if you resolve a complaint in the customer’s favor they will do business with you again 70% of the time. An example, “I am really sorry I misunderstood the problem, let’s work together to get this sorted out.” This reaffirms that you and the customer are on the same side and you both want the problem resolved.

  4. Solve the Problem- The steps above allow you to address the emotional aspects of the customer’s problem. Once the tension has diminished it makes room for the logic. This is the time to ask specific questions to understand what went wrong and the facts of the problem. Once you have all the information you can work with the customer to find a resolution that satisfies you both. This solution should be fair and justified for both parties.

  5. Take a breather– End the conversation on a happy note and then find a way to relieve stress. Take a walk around the office, step out for some fresh air, grab a cup of coffee, vent to a coworker... whatever puts you back into your happy place. It is important to relieve stress otherwise you may end up losing your cool on the next customer.

  6. Prevent it from Happening Again- Have you heard similar complaints on the same topic? This is a great time to look at your policies and figure out what can be done to prevent the problem from happening to another customer.

Keeping your calm while dealing with customers is easier said than done. By utilizing these steps it should help to make that process much simpler, as well, as provide excellent customer service that keeps your patrons coming back!