It happens to all of us. If you are running a business, you are bound to deal with unhappy customers. It's never easy hearing their disappointment, frustration or even anger. But if we react in the right manner to manage the sticky situation then we might be able to save the relationship (and save face!). You may even be able to turn the crisis around to create a better experience for your client.
How do we do that? How do we win over these unhappy clients? Here are my five tips to handle a disgruntled client and smooth things over :
1) LISTEN FIRST. When your client expresses dissatisfaction with your product or service, it is so important to listen actively. Let them talk. Don't interrupt and don't get defensive. Your client wants to be HEARD. Give them your full attention and act as a partner. Sometimes after letting them air out their issues, the problem can be easily solved.
2) SHOW EMPATHY. Once the problem is stated, show your client that you understand their perspective. And make sure to tell them that you are super sorry that they feel that way. It is critical to apologize, even if you don't think you are wrong. Beware of acting defensive and argumentative. This can blow up in your face, especially with the ease of sharing on social media.
3) RESPOND QUICKLY WITH SOLUTIONS. Time is of the essence here. Make sure you respond swiftly and offer a few solutions to the problem. Is it a refund, a discount, a free gift? Make the solutions crystal clear to avoid any confusion. Keep an open dialogue and ask if these solutions fit their expectations. See if you can work together to improve the outcome. Whatever action you suggest to correct the situation, make sure it feels good to you and seems fair. While you want to make your customer happy, you also want to keep your integrity in tact.
4) TAKE ACTION AND OVER DELIVER. Now that a solution has been agreed upon, get to work and get it done immediately. Make this client a priority. Make sure your client is well informed and in the loop. And do your very best to over deliver - finish before the deadline or offer a longer session or gift products. Surprise and delight your clients so that they remember this experience.
5) FOLLOW UP. Once the situation is resolved, make sure to follow up with your client. Send an email or make a phone call to ask if they are happy with the outcome. Then follow up again with a thank you note in the mail.
Dealing with difficult situations and clients can be very challenging. It takes patience and empathy plus a thick skin. These five steps show my clients that they are valuable to me. And they can help turn a crisis into an opportunity. Hope they help you take action in your next sticky situation.