That's One Neat Trick! Turning Complainers into Loyal CustomersBy: Meredith Pond
No matter what business you're in, it never fails. Every so often, you get one of those customers that seems to make an effort to find something to complain about. Maybe they're unhappy with your customer service, accuse you of selling faulty products, or claim you misrepresented your offer.
Whether you really made a mistake or not, it's your job to do whatever you can to make your clients happy. Some people may seem impossible to please, but if you're nice enough and really make an effort to meet them halfway, almost everyone will end up with a positive impression of you and your company.
When someone complains about your price, make an effort to be flexible. If it won't kill you to give them ten dollars or ten percent off, do it. Maybe even offer them a discount on their next purchase or a voucher for some kind of freebie.
If someone is unhappy with the quality of your work, try to accommodate their standards. Offer to do the job over, or at least revisit the work and polish it up a bit. If that fails, try offering them a discount. Almost any unhappy customer will change their tune when you offer to save them a few bucks.
If customer service is the hot issue, there's only one word you need to remember: communication. You should keep in constant touch with all your customers, especially the unhappy ones. Let them know what kind of progress you're making on their order, when you expect their project to be finished, and when they should have it in their hands. Express your desire to please them, and apologize profusely for mistakes. Whatever you do, don't blame foul-ups on the customer, even if you'd be right. Accept responsibility, apologize, and speedily correct the problem.
Last but not least, always ask customers if there is anything else you can do for them. Give them your phone number or email address (even if they already have it) and ask them to contact you if they ever need anything else.
To make a long story short, the customer may not always be right, but they are the lifeblood of your business. Even if they're difficult to deal with, remember that if they're happy, your bottom line will be happy, too. Even the ones who complain can be turned around and made into repeat customers.
© Copyright 2001, Meredith Pond
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