No Loss Without Gain: Customer Strategy to Turn Unhappy Clients into Fans
Today, companies put in a lot of efforts to gain new customers and keep them happy. It is not just a set of actions - it’s an entire customer strategy, starting from the first interaction that’s aimed at making a prospect not only make a deal with your company but also prefer it to all the other ones. It is still a disputable question which is harder. However, it’s been proved that returning customers are financially more beneficial. According to a study by Social Annex, acquiring new customers costs 500% more than keeping the current ones. Moreover, bringing a new customer to the same level of profitability as a true one is up to 16x more than the acquisition cost.
Naturally, no company is ready to lose customers, making top level service their priority. But what if anything goes wrong, and a prospect is disappointed or angry, and you’re on the verge of losing a customer?
While such a situation is highly undesirable, it still can turn out a win-win scenario. The best approach would be to view it as an opportunity not only to retain a client but also to make a lasting impression that’ll enhance his/her loyalty. You will need a good ‘difficult’ customer strategy for the purpose, and we are going to make its outline in this post. Teach your client support managers, sales representatives or whoever else is dealing with complaints to use it - and the results won’t take long to arrive.
1. Keep calm and don’t take it personally
A customer can be extremely upset with the service, angry and offensive, but this should not make you “lose your balance.” Remember that it is not you personally who is blamed, and don’t contradict or offer excuses. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and try to understand their reason for negative emotions.
2. Let them speak
To solve the problem, it would be good to arrange a meeting in person, or at least a phone conversation. Then, listen attentively to what your client has to say and sound your understanding of the situation for clarity.
3. Take the blame and apologise
Demonstrate you are on the same line with your customer by acknowledging the fault and saying how sorry you are. Even if it looks trifle and not good attention in your eyes, it matters for your client, so do your best to show you understand him/her. Under no circumstances can you shift the blame to the customer, even if it is fair - you are there to make the person feel good and set things right.
4. Offer a solution
Your apology is not enough; it is time to improve the situation. You can provide your view of how to deal with the issue first, or you can ask the client what he/she would like you to do to set things straight. It would be awesome to go beyond the customer’s expectations and give them more. It might be a good idea to have this thought over/ discussed with the supervisor/CEO in advance to be sure as to the “perks” that might be offered to a client as an apology.
5. Keep them informed
Even if you’ve already devised a plan and stick to it, updating your unhappy customer on the progress will make a difference for them, and help create a lasting positive impression. Even if any issues arise, it is better to let them know about it and assure you’re working to fix them as soon as possible.
6. Get the most out of the situation
When you’re done with this problem, make sure you learn from it. Define why it took place and take steps to prevent it in the future. Also, clients’ feedback and complaints can give you an idea about the necessary improvements by showing which of their needs aren’t met. Finally, go over the particular situation to see whether there could be a better way of dealing with it regarding turning a disappointed client into a company advocate.
As you know, with the right approach it is possible to turn a negative situation into a favorable one. The most important things are to focus on your customers and their needs and to be determined to solve the situation to mutual benefit. Also, when things are right, make sure you refine your customer strategy correspondingly to ensure against similar occurrences in the long run.