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Your overall response to angry customers must include three key steps. Listening to connect with the customer was step one. Taking ownership to resolve the customer's issue was step two. In step three we will review the art of the follow up, as you want to make certain that you've done all you can to save the relationship and turn the customer into a raving fan.
After you have thoughtfully and skillfully addressed the customer's complaint and their issue is finally resolved, you have a unique opportunity to repair and solidify the customer relationship.
After the customer has had time to calm down, they will recognize how hard you worked to take care of them and see the issue through to a reasonable resolution. They'll have a greater appreciation for the effort you made and they'll be feeling better about how you pro-actively took ownership of their issue.
Now that the customer is in a better state of mind, you have a golden opportunity to win him over and start rebuilding the relationship.
In order to fully repair and even strengthen the relationship, follow up is crucial. You should make a point of reaching out to the client a week after the issue is resolved - just to make certain that there isn't anything else you can do to assist them. Tell the customer once more how much you appreciate his business. This goes a long way toward customer retention.
When talking with the client during the follow up, take the time to thank the customer for their patience; tell him that you appreciate his business and urge him to call you directly if he has any further issues. Use our free Courtesy Calling script as a more detailed guide prior to making the call.
"Sales without Customer Service is like stuffing money into a pocket full of holes."
- David Tooman
By making the extra effort to unexpectedly follow up with the client, you will heighten the customer's overall perception of you and your company. They'll start thinking, "Wow, they really do care."
Don't be surprised is the client apologizes during the follow up call. In light of his newfound appreciation for your efforts, the customer may later regret his earlier behavior and view his initial actions as somewhat overblown. If this happens, simply thank him and keep the conversation focused on how you look forward to continuing to serve him in the future.
Notice that throughout this series, we never stated it was important to believe that the customer is always right. In fact, many times, the customer is flat-out wrong, but that's not important. What is important is that you and your team are well equipped to address customer issues with poise and confidence.
Getting past the emotions of the moment is a discipline that every employee should be taught - it's a skill they can use in countless life situations.
Even if you don't agree with the basis for the client's
complaint, it's not wise to try to prove the client wrong. Instead, your goal should be to prove the client "satisfied" - and to do that it's going to take some extra time and effort, but it is worth that investment because your effort will help to protect the reputation and brand of the business.
Take a moment now to reflect on what you've learned during this 3-step response to angry customers strategy:
Will the above three steps work in every single case? No, not always. It's inevitable that there will be that one exceptionally difficult customer who will never be satisfied no matter what you attempt to do for them. That's life, and to those folks - we have to feel sorry for them to some degree. Everyone has options in how they choose to walk through life. Simply wish them well and move on.
- Harvey Mackay
But for the other 99% of unhappy customers, this 3-step response to angry customers should prove highly effective. Your challenge as the leader is to make sure each member of your team is proficient in all three steps.
The bottom line is that if you don't treat the customer well during every interaction, you risk losing him to a competitor. So it's not enough just to address complaints when they occur.
Your ultimate goal should be to eliminate the risk of customer issues happening in the first place. But, when the occasional customer complaint is presented, your entire team will now know how to apply this 3-step strategic response to angry customers, and turn those same customers into raving fans.