Having unhappy customers is a reality of business. It doesn’t matter how smoothly and efficiently you run your business, Murphy’s Law will come and bite you on the ass.
You can set up your business to be as fault free as possible, but something will always go wrong. This makes it very important to a have a streamline system in place for fixing problems. The system has to be quite vague, as you wont know exactly what to expect, but you can have a few key points that will help you make it a good experience for the customer.
Customer is always right…well, that’s what you should say, anyway.
Something good to remember when dealing with angry or upset customers is that the customer is always right. Yes, I know this isn’t actually the case, but if you want their money, you want them to have a good experience. The best way for them to have a good experience when dealing with something that has gone wrong, is to be treated with respect and with the pretence that what they’re saying is correct. I’m not saying you should let yourself be ripped off by customers, but I am saying that you shouldn’t blame them or make up excuses for the faulty product/service.
It’s good to take responsibility. If a customer is using your product incorrectly, then don’t blame them for it, but tell them that you should have explained it better when you sold it/installed it. This isn’t directly blaming the customer, and the customer will be happy that you haven’t become confrontational.
Always be happy. Seriously. Always.
Always have a happy attitude. This is super important. You’re as much a part of the business as the products on the shelf. It isn’t what you say that matters, but how you say it. You can say some very mean words but in a happy voice and with a smile on your face and people wont know what to think. If you say those same words but in an angry voice, they will know exactly what to think.
So by simply explaining a situation to them in a happy manner will vastly improve how they receive it.
Also, have you ever tried yelling at someone who is being nice to you? Try yelling at a store clerk who has a smile on their face and talks to you respectfully. You will feel like garbage and will be changing your tune before you leave the shop. This is how you should treat angry customers. Don’t get angry at them. Don’t get into an argument with them about who is right. Simply smile, be polite and respectful, and try to explain the situation to them.
Be willing to compensate.
Compensation. Compensation can change a customers mood in seconds. If you have to replace an upset customers product because of a faulty product, give them some free batteries with it, or a free carry bag or something. Even keep your old stock from last season out back, allowing you to give them away for free to unhappy customers.
People love free stuff. They love it even more when it is compensation because they feel like they have been validated and the issue resolved.
This doesn’t work the same when a customer has to ask for compensation, so try to be sure you offer it first.
Remember, you still want to make money. There is nothing you can do about faulty products, but there is something you can do for disgruntled customers, and customers are the ones who are giving you money. So give compensation, but only give it when you can, not everything warrants compensation, and don’t send yourself broke just to put a smile on someone’s face, as you will always have a customer that you can’t please.
You can’t make everyone happy.
It is impossible to please everyone. There are just some people out there who can’t be pleased, and those people will eventually walk into your shop and have a problem.
This is the point where you need to realise that this isn’t personal. The customer hasn’t singled out your store because they don’t like you. This is just business for both of you.
So when you get a customer who you simply can’t please, don’t take it personally and get defensive, angry, or argumentative. Simply do your best with a smile on your face, respect in your voice, and fairness in your actions. The customer may still leave upset, but you did your best and any reasonable customer will see that and come back again. If they don’t, then maybe that is for the better.
Fix the problem quickly.
It is important to find out if the product is actually faulty before you send out a new one, but it’s also important to get the solution resolved as quick as possible. The customer has already paid for their product, waited for it to arrive, and now they are left with a faulty product until you can replace it. This isn’t good. So don’t stuff around or put the faulty products on the bottom of the to-do list. Get it done as soon as possible and resolve the situation for your piece of mind and that of your customer.
Online customer reviews are becoming a much more popular way of voicing customer complaints. The worst thing you can possibly do is go onto these public forums and argue with a customer. If you have a negative online review, accept the customers point of view, apologise, and work to fixing the problem. If there is no problem and the customer was just being unreasonable, don’t say that online, just apologise to the customer for their bad experience. It’s much better to be seen as a business that accepts responsibility and respects its customers, than it is to appear as the business that will go online and complain and embarrass you online. It might get you some publicity online, but there certainly is such a thing as bad publicity.