Ever had a customer upset about some aspect of your business? Perhaps it was a faulty product, a late delivery, or a communication blunder. No one likes confrontation, but sometimes we can’t avoid it. Here are some tips to help you turn an upset customer into an enthusiastic customer.
1. Control yourself.
Easier said than done, controlling yourself is a crucial part of customer relations. You must control your tone, your facial expression, and your comments (even if you are communicating electronically). Take a deep breath and do your best to control your emotions.
2. Be honest.
If you messed up, say “I messed up.” Don’t blame shift, and don’t make excuses; just be honest. If the customer’s item will be delayed, tell the customer right away. Don’t make the customer wait several days with no communication and then send a notification that the order will be delayed. That’s a surefire way to create an upset customer.
3. Make amends.
Reward the customer’s patience with a kind gesture.
For example, while at a local Chick-fil-A restaurant recently, I saw this happen firsthand. A young couple ordered their food, but there was a delay with the order. The manager on duty apologized for the delay and said that she would bring the food to the couple’s table when it was ready. True to her word, about 5 minutes later, the manager brought the food to the couple’s table, apologized for the delay, and offered the couple two free Chick-fil-A sandwich coupons to make amends for the delayed order. The couple smiled and accepted the coupons, and I have no doubts that they will visit Chick-fil-A again in the future, despite the lengthy wait for their food this time.
4. Forget it, but don’t forget it.
Bad experiences with customers do happen from time to time, but don’t let these experiences ruin your day/week/month. Focus on other matters that must be taken care of and let that experience “roll off.” However, file the experience away in your mind and learn from your mistakes. How can you prevent a similar situation from happening in the future?
YOUR TURN: Have you ever had a customer service scenario that could have ended badly, but you managed to salvage the situation? Tell us about it in the comments, would you?