Even the very best companies occasionally have unhappy customers, and many have discovered the secrets to turning them back into happy ones before they leave and switch brands. Key to turning around a leaving customer is how your company responds to the customer’s frustration when it occurs. The more time that passes between when the customer experiences frustration and when your company responds, the less chance you have to successfully turn the situation around.
Here are some key steps to a successful “turn around” process:
Listen Carefully. Apologize Sincerely.
People really like to feel heard, especially when they are annoyed. Listen to the customer calmly, ask sympathetic clarification questions, and then apologize sincerely. On behalf of the company, you want to convey to the customer that this incident should not have happened, that you apologize and want to work with the customer to find a solution.
Suggest multiple solutions.
Come up with several options for how the problem could be resolved. This gives your customer a sense of being back in control, able to choose and this goes a long way to restoring the relationship.
Restore good will.
Husbands famously give flowers to their wives when they are in the doghouse. So come up with some flowers. A gift card, a coupon, a reduction on their next purchase, a free “whatever”. Remember, you are making this goodwill gesture to salvage the relationship and secure future sales not just one sale
Follow through with your solution and gesture.
Make sure the customer actually receives their “flowers.” You have now set new expectations with this customer and you need to ensure those expectations are met.
Address the problem within the company.
The problem which arose with your customer should be addressed within your company. Was it a customer service representative’s error? Was there a mix-up in the order? Is there something that needs to be changed in the sales and communication process to prevent this error from occurring again?
Follow up with the customer to ensure the issues has been addressed.
Call your customer in a week or two. Your personal attention and follow through will speak volumes about the company’s sincerity and desire to restore the relationship. Personal attention helps a customer recognize your company doesn’t just see them as a number. You see them as an important customer, worthy of individual attention.
At Client Insight Inc., we help create “Customer U-turns.” For more information on restoring customers, contact us.
Listen. Measure. Improve. It’s a profitability strategy for your company.