How To Deal With Unhappy Customers

dealing with unhappy customersFor a new small business owner who is seeking to grow his or her business, brand reputation is an important consideration to keep in mind, which is why any negative press about the business can be detrimental to its success. All it takes is one unhappy client or associate, the lightning-fast pace of the internet, and a negative blog post to derail even the best laid plans.

If you follow publishing at all, you might have seen this example in the fall of Cooks Source Magazine, whose editor plagiarized a freelance author’s work, and then refused to apologize. What followed was a barrage of negative press, which led to the magazine’s advertisers pulling their support, thus ending the magazine’s life.

So, as a small business owner, part of your job is to figure out how to deal with unhappy customers in a way that will both protect your brand from losing its good reputation and make the customer happy again so that he or she will actually spread word of your brand, thus helping it grow.

Listen To The Complaint

Your first step when dealing with an unhappy customer is to listen to the problem so that you can begin formulating a solution. This means that you have to let the customer speak, however he or she chooses to speak. You have to have some thick skin sometimes to get past this first step, but, believe me, it will be worth it if you can protect your brand and help the customer. Eventually, the customer will calm down and let you know what the problem is.

Give Your Initial Response

Next, you should respond immediately to the customer, even if you do not have an immediate solution. Part of the customer’s frustration no doubt comes from feeling helpless in this situation. If you can show him or her that you do care and that you are listening to the complaint, then you can make the disgruntled customer at least satisfied knowing that his or her complaint has been heard.

However, don’t make any promises that you cannot keep; instead, promise to follow up and get back to the customer as soon as possible, even if this means that you cannot change anything in the end, it’s worth showing that you are easily accessible.

Keep In Touch

As you work to come up with a solution, you should give your customer updates on the situation. For example, if your customer had to return a broken item, but you need to order a new one and get it shipped to the store, you should also inform your customer of the travel time and estimated arrival. Updating your customer as much as realistically possible about the situation will make him or her feel as if you haven’t forgotten about the problem.

Give Your Final Response

Finally, give the customer your answer. No matter how poorly the situation has carried on, it is important that you give your response in a professional and mature way. If at all possible, err on the side of helping the customer out in some way. If you cannot correct the current mistake or problem, then offer him or her another sort of discount or free product. Try to throw in a peace offering if you cannot solve the problem, as this could help soften the blow, thus making the customer remember that you did your very best to solve the problem.

If you can, in fact, solve the problem, then congratulations! You’ve most likely helped make your customer’s experience with a relatively frustrating situation much better. These are the best case scenarios for these kinds of situations, so you should celebrate the save. Hopefully, your customer is now spreading word about your good customer service to all of his or her friends.

About The Guest Author: Katheryn Rivas writes on the topics of  online universities.   She welcomes your comments at her email Id:  katherynrivas87@gmail.com.

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7 Comments How To Deal With Unhappy Customers

  1. EGriffin

    I service many people on a daily basis that are in a state on mind that is not productive. It is too bad that information like this is not available on both sides. I have had customers yelling and screaming. In most cases I have found the angry customer simply wants someone to listen.

    Reply
  2. Pete Ekizian

    Its so easy to get caught in the mindset of wanting to be right, particularly when you know you’re right! We run an e-commerce site and in this arena it’s incredibly important to adhere to the old axiom “The Customer is Always Right.” E-commerce customers cannot see the sympathy in your face, they don’t know you’re not operating out of your basement and they want immediate resolution to problems to ease their fears. No matter what goes wrong with an order, if you fix it for a customer no questions asked (or very few questions asked), they will become an advocate for your company.

    Reply
  3. Katie

    I create handmade garments for weddings and find that it is really hard to find the balance between offering a solution that will make them happy but not becoming a pushover that just refunds any bride that isn’t satisfied. Just because it wasn’t exactly what they expected doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good handmade product. Many times they expect things to look like they were made in a factory, but that is what I am trying to avoid. Does anyone have any advice on how to protect the good name I have and at the same time stand up for myself and my products? (and how to protect my emotions when I hear someone put down my hard work!!!)

    thank you 🙂

    Reply
  4. Cecilia

    Katie mentions about protect our emotions when someone put down our hard work. I stumble upon this post because I am looking for the same thing. I guess I just start to learn that there is no perfect world but everybody wants and expect the perfect world. I cannot possibly make everyone happy, everybody has different expectation. I got to accept that there are always unhappy customers, and I learn that if they are unhappy despite all my resolution, refund, apologized and all, well they can go some where else and let some else deal with them. Unlike big brand business though, it seems that they can be careless about people’s complaints and still have a good brand. For one I found Dell has a lot of bad feedback and unhappy customer, I am a happy Dell customer, from my home gaming system to my business pcs and laptops, I never have a problem with them. I am starting to think that branding and happy customers are unrelated.

    Reply
  5. Kathryn

    I am a dance instructor at a fairly new business, however all of the instructors have been teaching elsewhere for years. I feel as if the parents do not respect me as a professional because I am so young. At the age of 25 now, I have been dancing and training for 23 years and learned all the ins and outs of the business from my mother who is a studio owner. I hear complaints almost every day (why isn’t my daughter progressing faster, why is that student in the class, why are you using that song) the list goes on and on, and, most of the parents were never dancers themselves! How do I get them to trust me and stop all of the complaints, while observing the wonderful process of the class as a whole rather than finding negative comments to say day after day. This is ruining my spirit and passion, and, unfortunately negativeness is more contagious than positivity.

    Reply
  6. Kathryn

    I am a dance instructor at a fairly new business, however all of the instructors have been teaching elsewhere for years. I feel as if the parents do not respect me as a professional because I am so young. At the age of 25 now, I have been dancing and training for 23 years and learned all the ins and outs of the business from my mother who is a studio owner. I hear complaints almost every day (why isn’t my daughter progressing faster, why is that student in the class, why are you using that song) the list goes on and on, and, most of the parents were never dancers themselves! How do I get them to trust me and stop all of the complaints, while observing the wonderful process of the class as a whole rather than finding negative comments to say day after day. This is ruining my spirit and passion, and, unfortunately negativity is more contagious than positivity.

    Reply

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