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Wondering how you can deal with unhappy customers? Do you dread such interactions becoming heated? Whatever the concern may be, a complaint does not mark the end of your relationship with a customer. Quite the contrary. Processing customer feedback, including negative feedback, is a crucial step that when executed properly will allow you to retain even the most dissatisfied of customers. Discover in this article our four tips for dealing with client dissatisfaction.

9 times out of 10, your customer will remain loyal to your company following a bad experience...but only if you have resolved the situation (Lee Resources). In customer relations, the idea is not to always know who is right or who is wrong, but to have the desire to handle things in the right way. It’s never easy to deal with a dissatisfied customer, but take care not to fall into the trap of customer-phobia. Following good practices in this regard will help you to salvage many situations.

1. Change your way of thinking

Regardless of the point of contact, whether it be telephone, email, Facebook Messenger, or even in person, when dealing with a dissatisfied customer, you should have the reflex of putting yourself in their shoes. Put aside your feelings, even if it is the client who made the mistake.

This last point, as difficult as it may be, is not meant to be a burden for your company. When a customer contacts you to bring his dissatisfaction to your attention, above all else he or she just wants to be heard. It is not always imperative to resolve a problem, as long as you at least show your consideration of the problem.

2. Listen attentively to your client

The most important step in dealing with dissatisfaction, which ultimately prevails in any relationship, is actively listening to what the other party has to say. From the very first interactions, try to establish a transparent and trusting relationship between you and your customer. Show them that you are ready to really listen.

If your client sees that you are considerate of their problem, that you understand that they may be upset, and that you are working on a solution...then you’re on the right track toward reversing the situation.

First, outline the scope of the complaint. What is the customer complaining about? Why? Is it the company’s fault? There are so many questions to which you can find answers thanks to active listening.

Do not jump to conclusions too quickly. Resist the urge to solve a problem in a heartbeat. It is only when the client has finished saying their part that you can then proceed to the next step.

3. Map out the elements of dissatisfaction

Now that you have all of the elements in hand, take the time to map out the client’s problems in order to show him or her that you have listened closely and understood their dissatisfaction. In the event that you missed something, the customer will be able to explain the situation to you again.

Use simple words along with objectives. For example, “If I’ve understood you well, you are upset because you did not receive your order on time.”

4. Show empathy and offer a solution

From the first interaction you have with your client, you should try to put yourself in their position. This is the time to convey your empathy, to show them that you have taken into consideration and understand their situation.

If you are face to face with the customer, don’t forget that body languages is also a part of your communication. Make sure that your non-verbal communication is in sync with your verbal communication. The client will be sensitive to these kinds of details.

If it turns out that a customer’s dissatisfaction is indeed the fault of your company, apologize and offer a solution that should satisfy them. And if it’s not your company’s fault, apologize anyway, though for different reasons. For example, “We are sorry to hear that you had a bad experience inside our store.” In any case, you should offer a solution to the client.

You could consider offering them a discount on their next purchase, a free gift, etc.. Don’t hesitate to get creative, as there’s nothing better than a positively surprised client. You may even opt to outsource the management of your apology messages to the Estonian startup, Sorry as a Service, as a way of showing more humanness. Through this service, some customers even received cakes with apology messages written on them. Now that’s a rather impactful way of acknowledging one’s mistakes.

Once you have agreed on a solution with your customer, lay out what the next steps are to reassure them. Depending on the situation, you shouldn’t hesitate to do a short-term follow-up. Just make sure that your customer is truly satisfied with your solution to their problem.

These four steps call for a very positive attitude. From dissatisfaction can come much positivity. Customer feedback is a priceless source of information, especially negative feedback. Listen with consideration to your dissatisfied customers, and don’t hesitate to contact them by phone when possible. What could be more amazing for a disgruntled customer than receiving a phone call? From dissatisfaction to satisfaction, there is only one step.

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