Everything in small business begins and ends with the customer. It’s your job to make your customers happy. And that’s what makes your business money, is making them happy. Giving them what they want and keeping them satisfied.
Some customers get rude or angry for a variety of reasons—some justified, some not. But since you’re in business to serve your customers, you’ll likely to encounter unhappy individuals at one time or another.
Common sense suggests that keeping your customers happy and your sales will continue to soar – neglect them or take them for granted and your bottom line will suffer accordingly.
Here are some of our tips for coping with a tense situation and hopefully resolving it to everyone’s satisfaction:
Locating your unhappy customers usually isn’t that difficult; just ask your support team. They’ll know who they are, and might even describe them (off the record) as discomforts. so get their numbers. Find a quiet place. Get ready to hear some criticism. Be prepared to learn some important information that may do wonders for your bottom line as you get a chance to repair problems you didn’t even know you had.
Dissatisfied customers really don’t want to hear from customer service. However, they will likely take a call from the chief executive of the company.
And once you have them on the phone, you’ll need to remember that those angry customers didn’t start out that way. At some time in the past, each of them made an affirmative decision to purchase your product or service–they believed in your company and your offering. Only later did they discover a problem.
Your goal is to find out what happened, and why, so that you can fix it. As you call them, keep that in mind. They were in love with you–or at least liked you enough to give you their money. Now, they’re like deserted exes wondering what they ever saw in you and not really wanting to give you the time of day.
Work on improving your conflict resolution skills . These skills can help you if you need to negotiate with your clients.
Failing the customer almost always falls into one of three categories: The product was truly faulty, the documentation was incorrect, or customer expectations weren’t properly managed. Most customer service departments really only know how to deal with the first two.
Unfortunately, the customer who falls through the cracks is most likely to be in the third category. Managing expectations is something that needed to be done by the sales or marketing team, and is very difficult to repair in hindsight.
On the other hand, if you can identify where your marketing or sales presentation failed the customer, it can be among the easiest problems to fix–and will help you prevent any number of similar situations in the future.
You get all that for the price of a phone call–and a few minutes of your time.
Most customers, especially B2B customers, are looking to buy solutions. They appreciate direct answers in a language they can understand.
If you’re not sure how to fix the situation, then ask your client what will make him happy. If it’s in your power, then get it done as soon as possible. Follow up with your customer to make sure he or she was happy with how the situation was resolved.
Have you had to deal with any unhappy customer recently? How did you solve the problem? Please share your experiences with the community.