There are more ways than ever before for your customers to voice their satisfactory and frustrating experiences with your business, product or service. Each positive and negative comment can make or break your next potential customer. It is important to handle each customer interaction with patience and care.
1. Listen to them
Customers become disgruntled for many reasons, some justified and some not. The first step to properly resolving conflicts with unhappy customers is to listen to what they’re telling you. Make sure your customer feels heard, no matter how you feel about what they’re saying.
Hastily responding to an unhappy customer by trying to immediately forge a solution can often backfire and cause the customer to become even more upset. Often times, a customer is just looking to vent and know their message is being heard, and so immediately cutting to a solution will leave the customer feeling like you didn’t take the time to listen to their needs.
Maintain proper body language. Don’t roll your eyes, glance at your phone or interrupt your customer while he or she is talking. Keep eye contact, nod your head and stand up straight. Look attentive.
2. Express Empathy
Think back to your last dissatisfactory service experience as a customer. We’ve all faced it at one time or another. Why were you upset? What caused it? What did you want the employees to do or say to rectify the situation?
Empathy is a powerful social skill that can help you to strengthen your customer service abilities. Simply letting your unhappy customer know that you see where they’re coming from and you understand their feelings can go a long way in breaking tension and resolving conflicts. Seeing the situation from their vantage point can help you better assess how to resolve it. If you were feeling how they were feeling, what would you want?
Respect and understanding are so important when dealing with unhappy customers. As stated earlier, unhappy customers want to know their complaints are being heard. Actively sympathizing and expressing remorse for their unpleasant customer experience can be the first step in conducting damage control, especially when interacting with unhappy customers on social media, where they can be unrelentingly cruel and their complaints can be viewed by hundreds of thousands of people.
4. Resolve the Conflict
Many times, customers simply want to share a dissatisfactory experience with a manager or business owner, and leave it at that. But often, you will have a customer who wants you do to something for him or her to repair the situation. It’s always best to do all that you can to rectify the problem and turn your unhappy customer into a happy one.
Going out of your way to accommodate a customer’s needs makes them feel special and will leave them with a positive story to share with friends and family. If you can, give the customer more than he or she asks for. By going above and beyond their own expectations of your service, you can make that person feel like your most valued customer.
5. Look For Ways to Improve
Don’t forget, customer feedback is the surest way of finding out if anything is going wrong within your business. While it’s easy to get defensive when faced with criticism, remember that each critique is an opportunity to improve your product or service, so listen carefully to what your customer is saying. If it is a complaint you’ve heard from other customers at different times, perhaps it’s time to reassess that element of your business and look to see where it can be improved.