One of the great benefits for a business that never makes mistakes is that there will generally be few complaints from clients! But just how realistic is that?
In business as in sports there are times that we are living in the sweet-spot of performance and execution. Most of us have had those days when no matter what an opponent threw it was knocked out of the park. Or a great serve from an opponent returned for a winner, a “hail Mary” pass thrown for a touchdown with no time on the clock or a winning shot from half-court at the buzzer with a hand in your face.
Similarly in business there are times when a company is running on all cylinders with sales going gangbusters and a client base that couldn’t be happier or more satisfied with the firm’s products or services.
Unfortunately the reality is that for a business there will be times, hopefully few and far between, when for one reason or another there will be a glitch and a client will be unhappy with some aspect of a firm’s delivery or overall performance.
When this occurs it presents a company with an opportunity to make lemonade out of lemons or, at the very least, to not compound a bad situation of customer dissatisfaction by making it worse through actions, attitudes or method of resolution to the point that you lose that client!
Here are some of the ways that a business should respond to customer unhappiness!
Respond instantly – when a customer complains, respond instantly. The more they wait, the more they get frustrated and hence, would be more inclined to be unreasonable. Do not wait for their irritation to escalate to anger. Respond to their complaint message immediately.
Believe that customer’s complaint is genuine – one of the worst steps of counteraction a company can give is implying that the customer is dishonest or unrealistic. Tell the client that you believe their complaint is genuine and you are trying your best to see what can be done to help.
Apologize for the pain they feel not for the mistake – the mistake is not always yours. However, the complaining individual is genuinely aggrieved. Apologize to the customer for the pain they have experienced. Saying sorry for their (customer’s) discomfort is not the same as saying sorry for a mistake that your company has done. However, when you say sorry genuinely, the customer is more often than not already pacified and ready to listen to you with an open mind.
Do your best to meet their expectations – one of the most important rules for handling customer complaints is showing that you are doing your best to help. You will find that the majority of people are reasonable in their expectations. Just knowing that you are making all the effort to help them will often open the door to negotiations on how to resolve the problem towards mutual benefit.
If it is your mistake, overcompensate – there will be instances when the customer is right. The service/ product/ experience/ was bad. If you are guilty of any such thing, the rules for handling customer complaints say that you acknowledge, apologize and immediately overcompensate the aggrieved client. In this way, you are eliminating a disgruntled customer and appointing a free goodwill ambassador for your brand; for this customer will not stop praising you after that. (Source)