Seven steps to turn around a disgruntled client

If you have a disgruntled client, (and we all have!) one who has had a bad experience, what can you do to turn things around? The seven simple steps listed below that can help you turn an unhappy customer into your biggest fan.

Step One:

Empathetic apology. It isn’t sufficient to mumble the word “sorry” and expect it to have a positive effect. Your apology needs to show your customer that you understand how your mistake has negatively impacted his or her life.

Step Two:

Take ownership. You want the customer to understand that you are the person who will fix their problem. Ask the customer what you can do to “make it right”.

Step Three:

If possible fix the problem immediately. Sometimes you can’t fix the problem immediately, in which case you need to show the customer that you’re making a sincere effort to resolve the problem.

Step Four:

Get your customer’s buy in. Asking for the customer’s agreement will ensure that he will be satisfied. With small problems, these four steps should satisfy your customer. But remember — a satisfied customer doesn’t talk about his experience. Now, take the opportunity to add value, so that your customers will talk about how great you are. To do this, you need to take two additional steps.

Step Five:

Atonement. You need to go the extra mile to show that you are truly sorry. A small token can go a long way to ease the pain your mistake caused. Send them a hand written note.

Step Six:

Follow up. This is where you can really shine. After a short period of time, call, e-mail or write your customer and make sure they are satisfied with your efforts. This is also an opportunity to ask for more business and referrals.

Step Seven:

None of the above will work if you are NOT sincerely sorry!

None of these steps take an inordinate amount of time or money, but they can really create delighted customers — customers who will tell stories that promote you to their friends and family.

Source: Pamela Webb, Promotional Consultants Today and Laurie Brown is an international speaker, trainer and consultant who works to help people improve their sales, service and presentation skills. She is the author of The Teleprompter Manual for Executives, Politicians, Broadcasters and Speakers.

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