Five keys to turning upset customers into fans
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When it comes
to dealing with
dissatisfied customers, most business owners and managers believe that
back guarantees and/or exchange policies will fix the
problem. Lousy strategy. Money back guarantees and
exchanges may fix
the problem, but they do nothing to fix the relationship.
Policies don’t fix
relationships - people do.
When I speak
and meetings on how to boost customer retention,
I often find that there is little attention paid to how
can fix the damaged relationship when the customer has been let
down. The consequences of this
line employees chase away repeat customers and referrals, spread
word-of-mouth advertising, and become frustrated and de-motivated
they’re constantly dealing with upset customers.
On the other
applying just a few critical people skills, front line employees can
such positive feelings - for
themselves and their customers, that
upset customer will become even more loyal.
They’ll be transformed from being a critic
of your organization to becoming an advocate.
are 5 key strategies:
Focus on concerns vs complaints
No one likes
customers complain. Employees
impatient and defensive when faced with these “trouble-makers.” One of
seminar participants equated listening to customer complaints to
amateur eyeball surgery. (That
need to be trained to
treat customer complaints as concerns. Employees
should be made
aware of the fact
that customers who express concerns are helping you to stay sharp,
and successful. Focusing
on a customer concerns vs complaints will
immediately shift a
potentially negative situation
into one that is positive, helpful, and productive.
“Money back guarantees don’t fix relationships -
Empower front-line employees
For their 43rd
wedding anniversary, my father called a florist to order 43 roses for
mother. When Dad asked for the price, the clerk quoted the single rose
times 43. She offered no quantity discount despite the fact that
usually cheaper by the dozen. She
admitted that this didn’t make sense, adding that her boss wasn’t in
policy was to issue no discounts without the manager’s
approval. Result - a competitor got
the order and Dad
will never go back to the first florist.
The lesson is that
you can often prevent customers
becoming upset if you empower your front line employees to make
on-the-spot decisions. This type of delegation require two important
training and trust. The
irony is that a
lot of managers say they can’t afford to train employees, when in fact
can’t afford not to. You don’t get
for free. You earn
customers by investing in front line training.
Prove that you’re listening
When a customer is voicing their
doing, turn towards them and give them an expression of total
concern. Listen without
Then prove that
you’ve heard them. That
and paraphrasing. IMPORTANT:
you tell them why you’re repeating
what they’ve said. For
might say, “I want to make sure I’ve got this straight...”
(then you paraphrase and
ensures that the customer knows that you
truly understand the problem.
Express sincere empathy
upset customer feels frustrated because they didn’t get what they
expected. It’s that
simple. Whether or
not they have a valid reason for
feeling frustrated is
completely irrelevant. Upset
need to know that you care - not just about their problem - but about
something that no refund or exchange
will ever do. Use
phrases like, “Gosh,
that sounds frustrating.” Or, “I’d feel the same
I were you.” Empathizing
will diffuse an angry customer
faster than any thing else you can do.
Apologize and provide extras
Tell the customer,
“I’m sorry.” Even
if it wasn’t your
fault, but your co-worker’s, you represent your organization to that
so apologize on behalf of the entire company.
Even when you suspect the customer may have erred, it’s
better to give
the customer the benefit of the doubt, than to be “right” and loose a
of repeat and spin-off business.
If your product or
service really did fall short of the mark, then to retain the customer,
course you’d give them a refund or exchange.
But that’s not enough. On top of
the exchange or refund, give them something for their inconvenience.
Any small gesture or token
(that doesn’t force them to spend more money) will be greatly
will transform that upset customer into one of your greatest advocates.
The Training Solution
where things go wrong and customers are
When that happens, your customer base won’t
be preserved by money back guarantees or exchanges.
Rather, your business will be saved by
properly trained front line employees.
About the Author
an international speaker
and corporate trainer. His focus
is, “The Art of Client
Influence with Ease.”® For
self-study kits, and information about booking Jeff
or call 1-800-jmowatt
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-11-22 13:58:57 in Marketing Articles