One thing all customer service professionals can agree on is that dealing with an unhappy customer is an incredibly uncomfortable experience. Whether they received poor service, their purchases didn’t live up to their expectations or they’re having issues with a particular product, trying to satisfy an angry customer is never easy. As an independent retailer, these situations are even more unpleasant because the success of your business likely relies on the happiness and satisfaction of every single customer. To make things a little easier for you and your employees, here are five tips for turning customers’ frowns upside down.
- When an unhappy customer comes into your store or calls you on the phone, the first thing you should do is get yourself into problem-solving mode. Whether he or she is being unreasonable or unsavory, you must adjust your mindset to get on their level so you can work together as a team. By letting them know you’re not going to get defensive, they’ll feel more comfortable talking with you and feel like you truly care about finding a solution to their problems as opposed to just “being right.”
- Like in most areas of life, one of the most important steps in solving problems is to listen. Make sure the customer knows you’re actively listening to their complaints by saying, “So let me make sure understand everything correctly…”. Unhappy customers often just want to be heard, and by showing genuine curiosity about their situation you’ll let them know that you take their problems seriously, value their business and want to make things right.
- Always apologize. If a customer is taking the time out of their day to call or come into your store to complain about a product or service, it means they’re genuinely unhappy about it. Once they finish filling you in about what happened, let them know that you’re sincerely sorry about what happened. Once you’ve empathized with them, offer a fast and easy solution.
- If you’re dealing with an unhappy customer, it can be tempting to pass the blame. While this will take the unpleasant experience out of your hands, it might further annoy your customer. Instead, hold your head up high and take full ownership – even if it’s not your fault. Since there’s no way to change the past, taking a proactive approach by accepting it and moving on to a positive resolution is the best way to go.
- If you follow all of these steps and still have an unpleasant customer on your hands, the most important thing to remember is that your job as a customer service representative – and a small business owner – is to remain friendly and positive. While you may not be able to defuse every situation with every angry patron, you must remember that the customer is always right and should always be treated with respect, compassion and understanding. Your reputation as a retailer depends on it.