Ten steps for handling dissatisfied customers
When you become aware that there is a problem,
- Immediately provide an opportunity to allow the customer to fully express his or her dissatisfaction to you in private.
- Listen carefully to what they are really saying. Ask yourself: ‘what does this customer really want’?
- Remain objective. Don’t take what they are saying personally. Don’t get trapped in a negative filter towards the customer. Maintain a positive attitude.
- Express empathy as you listen to the customer
i) Use empathetic phrases. For example: ‘The lateness of our delivery must be very frustrating’
ii) Apologise either for the problem that has occurred, or concentrate on their feelings and say how sorry you are that they are feeling that way.
- Double check all the facts
ii) Use the mirroring technique. Repeat whatever they have said for clarification (shows you are listening). Obviously do this in a professional manner and ensure that you are not irritating them.
- Begin active problem solving
i) In a non-threatening manner, question the customer to gather the information you need
ii) Include bridging techniques
iii) Ask yourself how you can provide what they want.
- Mutually agree on the solution
i) Be realistic
ii) Come to mutual agreement on the solution with the customer
- Follow up and make sure that you more than ‘go the extra mile’ in resolving the situation in the shortest amount of time possible.
- Communicate with the customer regularly throughout the time it takes to completely resolve the ‘problem’.
- Check flaws in your procedures to make sure that the same problem doesn’t occur again (either with the same customers or with others).
Remember that when things go wrong your ‘bounce back’ policy can increase your credibility and win customers and customer loyalty.