5 keys to dealing with unhappy customers

5 keys to dealing with unhappy customers

Every business encounters unhappy customers at some point. Though it’s never easy to handle, it is precisely the time when you’ll get the occasion to make a difference. How you respond can determine whether you’ll gain a major fan for life or end up with somebody vowing never to return again and spreading the word. Here are a few tips that will help you fall into the first category.

1. Listen, stay calm and apologize!
The one thing that your customers want is to know they were heard: use your best listening skills and hear them out. Maintain control, even though you feel like yelling yourself – it will only make hostilities escalate. Your customer’s first impression is crucial: a simple statement like “I’m really sorry to hear about your experience. Let’s see what we can do to make it right” will go a long way towards calming things down.

2. Take full responsibility and ask them what they want
Whether the customer’s complaint is legitimate is irrelevant: never, ever blame or make excuses. After asking your customer about the origin of their discontent, find out their expectations: a refund, a replacement? If it is reasonable, act quickly. If you cannot meet their request, say it, and suggest an alternative.

3. Personalize your answer
When a customer is encountering an issue, the most irritating thing is to go through automatic emails and website forms when all they want is to talk to a real person. If you want them to stay a customer, take the time to give them personalized attention: call them by their name, and try to end your answers with yours rather than “Sincerely, Customer Service”.

4. Use their insight
With one complaint, you’re getting valuable feedback that other customers have observed, but never mentioned: someone telling you they’re unhappy with your business can lead to a solution fixing a problem you did not know you had. Don’t neglect the precious insights you’ll get on how to improve your product or service!

5. Offer an additional benefit for sticking with you
Lastly, you must have read this number somewhere: it is 6 to 7 times more costly to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing client – making your customers happy is worth the while. After solving their issue, send them an extra benefit to show them you value their business: you’ll gain a real brand ambassador that will tell their friends about their experience, and come back for more. Sending out an additional discount for the next purchase might not be the best option: most of the time, when customers had a bad experience with a product, the last thing they want is to get more free access to that product as compensation. That’s why we developed a Zendesk integration, the Ifeelgoods Gifting App, to enable your customer support agents to send out a personalized digital gift (think movie tickets, Amazon gift card, NYTimes subscription…) in one click through a Zendesk ticket. Our first results are actually not too bad: we’ve seen an immediate jump of up to 8 points in satisfaction scores so far!

In summary, here is what you should remember when dealing with complaints: listen, move fast, and delight your customers.

To learn more about our app, click here or write us at zendesk@ifeelgoods.com. You can also download it here in test mode for free.
Sources: http://businessfast4ward.com/small-business-marketing-strategies-customer-retention-vs-customer-acquisition (Frederic Reichheld of Bain & Company)
Satisfaction scores were established with the Zendesk built-in survey tool.


by Maïa Metz