Let’s face it every now and then, mistakes happen. It is natural. Some clients will forgive you; others might not even notice or give any thought about it. However, there are people who will get angry and demand some form of compensation. This is a critical point for every business owner; rather than losing them, you should try and fix things. Here are a few good tips on how to recover unhappy customers.
You Need to Listen
We know that you are amazing at what you do, but remember perception is reality. When a customer perceives that their needs are not being met we need to put ourselves in their shoes, and listen to them. In the words of one of my favorite authors Steven Covey, seek first to understand, then to be understood. Be personal, let them know you understand their frustration and apologise for the way the experience made them feel. Let them know that you value them as a customer and want to keep that relationship.
Go the extra mile…
We have a policy of replace plus, where in most cases we will give the unhappy customer a full refund plus an equal value (e.g. gift card) to use in the future. This may not be possible for all businesses but you get the idea. You need to go above and beyond if you really value that customer. Just consider how much you spend on marketing to get new customers that should be a good indicator of how much to offer as a maximum compensation then use your discretion. But be taken advantage of and there is not need to immediately give away the farm so to speak. Many times the customer just wants to be heard so remember to start there.
Identify any GAPS in your business
If you have truly actively listened to your customer, you will probably identify performance/system gaps within your business. This is the time to internally address these issues with your team to work on a solution to fix this as quickly as possible. Most of the time the fixes are easy and inexpensive. You don’t want to keep paying for the same problem repeatedly, that’s just bad business. Let them know what your next steps are so this won’t happen again, if it was simply a misunderstanding let them know the reason for the policy, practice or company procedure. Tie it to the greater good when possible i.e. laws, safety, specific limitations like geographic restrictions etc.
I have had great success in asking these unhappy customers to edit their review or submit a second review addressing how I dealt with the situation.
Next Steps: Implement an Ongoing Reputation Management Process to Your Business.
Let’s be real… online reviews are just as powerful today as word-of-mouth when it comes to your reputation and marketing your business. Potential customers are researching online and reading reviews before deciding to choose to do business with you.
When a customer reads a bad review online and no comment from the owner they take the review for face value. You should practice replying to all online reviews whether they are good or bad. This will show gratitude to those customers who took the time to share their great experience with your business online and address poor review ratings.
Here are the top sites for online reviews that you should pay attention to:
A good start is to register your business on each one of these review sites.
Next you should monitor these sites regularly for new reviews.
Click here to get access to a free online review management tool we use to get an alert every time someone submits a new review for us on the top review sites. We can also use this tool to monitor our top competitors to gain on your competitor intelligence.