Looking for opportunity in unhappy customers


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Looking for opportunity in unhappy customers

  1. 1. Looking for opportunity in unhappy customersPosted on February 15, 2012 by Maya PillaiRecently, I had gone to lunch with my husband in a small restaurant near his office. I ordered aGreek Country salad, cheese and tomato pasta and Gap juice (mix of guava and pear). I hadalmost finished half of my pasta, when I noticed there was a small bit of polythene in my pasta. Icalled the bearer and showed him the polythene. He took back the pasta and came back with afull plate of the same item. Later, as we were leaving, the manager came over to offer hisapologies. I was touched by their customer service. Now I am their regular customer for Sundaybrunch. They have found a loyal customer in me.The customer is the king. He is the one who decides whether your products/services should be asuccess or not. As an owner of a small business or a customer care manager of an organization,you may have to deal with unhappy or angry customers/clients all the time. Dealing with them isnot very easy and they have to be handled with care. However, if you know what to say and howto say it, you might be able to gain their trust. Dealing with unhappy clients/customers can bevery challenging. “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” says BillGates. We have put together certain tips that will help you handle such a situation smoothly.© 2012 Apptivo Inc. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. How to Handle Unhappy CustomersStep into your customer’s shoes – If you realize that your customer/client is unhappy, analyzethe situation from their point of view. Adjust your mindset to that of your customer’s and focuson solving the problem for them. Keep in mind that all that matters is that your valued customersare happy.Active listening is the key – Listen carefully to what your angry or unhappy customers have tosay. Do not interrupt them when they are speaking. If a customer has sent you an email or writtena letter, ensure to respond promptly. A point worth mentioning here is, when you are activelylistening, neither should you jump to conclusion of what had happened nor should you solve thesituation immediately. Instead, listen carefully to what the client has to tell you.Use calm and neutral words to start a dialogue – Once the unhappy client is over with hisexplanation, you should repeat his concern. By doing so, you let him know that you have beenlistening to him attentively. You should also clarify your doubts to ensure that you haveidentified the problem correctly. The anger and stress levels of your customer will come downwhen you agree on his issues.Empathize and reassure them – Empathize with your unhappy client once you understand theproblem. Ensure that your body language matches the tone of your voice while dealing withunhappy customers. Keep in mind that customers are always right, even when you know they arewrong.Give the customer a solution – Give a solution to correct the situation. If the customer is nothappy with your solution, give him/her the opportunity to resolve the issue. Don’t shy away from© 2012 Apptivo Inc. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. asking the client to identify what will make him/her happy. Come to an amicable solution thatwill benefit both you and the client.Keep in touch with your client – Once the problem has been resolved, you should not put hisrecords in the back burner. It is a good idea to keep in touch with him/her to know if he/she ishappy with the service. Occasionally, send a gift or a discount voucher. This way you canreconnect with them and also let them know that you care about them.Last but not least, if it was the error on your part that made the customer unhappy, you shouldknow how it happened. Find the root of the problem and fix it without any further delay; so anunhappy customer will not turn up in your doorstep again. You should work on improving yourconflict resolution skills so you can handle such situations proficiently and professionally.Flickr image by aleutia© 2012 Apptivo Inc. All rights reserved.