You see, sometimes you can be right. You’ve seen the facts and the figures. You’ve analyzed the data, company policy, and you know you’re right. But the customer also has the right to leave your business and patronize the very next person while sharing the bad news of their experience. This will leave you and your business in the dust.
Now, don’t get confused. All I’m saying is that sometimes the customer might not be right. It’s your duty as a service provider to calmly shift the customers understanding and expectations to what can be obtainable without dissatisfying the customer. Funny isn’t it, whether the customer does what is correct or not, they are the king.
Turning an angry customer to a loyal one using a multifaceted approach is essential. You must realize that no matter how good your brand is or how hard you try to avoid it, you are going to probably have dissatisfied, irate and angry customers at some point in your business. When this happens, there are two choices. Turn the customer away and lose repeat business while having bad reviews or turn them into a loyal customer.
As the business owner, there is a possibility that you won’t be attending to all your customers. Except you run a really small scale business. This means that your customers’ satisfaction lies in the hands of your employees. And the way that your employee handles a customer service situation will impact the way they feel about your brand.
Therefore all your employees should be adequately trained on how to deal with angry customers. They need to understand despite being thrown insults, there is still the need to make a genuine effort to regain the customer’s goodwill. Customer service is so much important in developing brand loyalty especially when the internet and social media give customers the liberty to publish information to virtually everyone.
Here are some steps that may help you turn an angry customer into a loyal one.
1. Acknowledge their anger by making your customer feel heard.
When a customer is upset sometimes it is not about logic or facts. Sometimes, it might not have anything to do with your products or services. It could just be that they had a bad meeting or a terrible argument with their partner and on engagement with your brand, they lash out. And sometimes, their anger could just be directly from you.
Whichever way, you must understand that anger is an emotion that comes from their bad impression of something or someone. It’s now up to you to find out the cause of their anger. You need to acknowledge that the customer has the right to be upset. Don’t rationalize what has happened, just acknowledge it. Simple gestures like a warm smile — although smiling at an irate customer can be the wrong thing to do — and an attitude that speaks of you wanting to help. If you cannot say definitively that you can solve the problem, let it show by your attitude that you are willing to help. It will certainly make them want to seek solutions with you.
Most complaints are similar in nature but builds up to the fact that an expectation was not met. So, if you have to immediately respond to an unhappy customer by trying to declare a solution, it might backfire and get the customer more upset. Try to get your angry customer into a more agreeable frame of mind. The ways that situations are handled can go a long way in diffusing anger towards your brand. While it is natural to try to be defensive when you get a complaint around your product, always remember that you can mine the complaint for information that is valuable and better your products or services.
2. Do all you can to delight your unhappy customer
When your customers’ expectations are not met, ensure that you do all you can to delight your customers. The levels at which you are willing to do so will go a long way in converting your angry customer to a loyal one. They would even look forward to using your product in future.
Going out of your way to fix a customer’s needs makes them feel important and respected. In any case, try to under-promise and over deliver. Amazon once had issues with a customer Christmas package being stolen from their apartment building. They went all out by delivering a replacement order as well as waiving the shipping costs despite the fact that Amazon didn’t really have to. They must have made that customer smile that Christmas. The news generated such goodwill for them far beyond any publicity they might have wanted to pay for. Converting customers who are unhappy to loyal ones will impact your business. That’s for sure.
3. Build a positive reputation.
Can we just say that a positive reputation works wonders on your getting repeat purchases and loyal customers? Yes! Also, an unhappy customer that was transformed into a delighted one will become an even more loyal one than a satisfied customer. In other words, once they gain satisfaction from an issue handled, they are most likely to spread the word.
Brands like Nordstrom and Zappos have built reputations for excellent service especially as it relates to customer returns. Both brands have a truck load of fans who are eager to spread the word of how good and outstanding their services are. According to research, 75% of their purchases come from repeat customers. Remember that every initial irate customer that you can satisfy gives your brand an opportunity to forge a lasting positive relationship.
4. Seize every opportunity for improvement.
Unhappy customers are an invaluable resource for giving your business honest information about your services and products. What you need to improve on and stand out from your competition. So treat each complaint like a means to find out potential problems with your brand.
Think about this. If one customer is unhappy and tells you about their problem with your service, imagine how many others have experienced same without saying anything. Those ones could equally boycott your services or give you negative reviews online.
Customer issues reveal where your business needs improvement. It’ll give you a sense of direction as to how to continually build better products or services. Remember that every complaint is an opportunity to drive change and growth that will be profitable for your business. The next time you come across a displeased customer, take them seriously and solve their problems.
There is no cheaper and more effective way of advertising than the words of a satisfied customer. A satisfied customer will become a loyal customer and every business needs loyal customers to thrive.