I have always said the best measure of a company and its customer relationships is not how they avoid unhappy customers but how they deal with unpleasant situations. Inevitably, you will do something that some customers do not like. Rather than focusing on avoiding the inevitable, there is more value in building a strong plan to react to these unhappy people and turning them into a resource. In fact, if they are engaged enough to complain to you rather than just go to a competitor, unhappy customers have the potential to be VIPs if you handle them appropriately.
A recent KISSmetrics blog post by Josh Brown, “5 Ways to Turn Your Unhappy Customer Into A Valuable Resource,” provides strong tactical advice on addressing unhappy customers. By applying these tactics, you not only improve the word of mouth the users generate, but also increase lifetime value by building customers (or players) who will continue to purchase your product.
Make your customers feel heard
The most effective way to be liked and admired is by listening to other people, a philosophy around which Dale Carnegie built a career. It is no different when dealing with your customers. An unhappy customer often cares more about being heard and understood than having their issue resolved. This means you need to listen to them and acknowledge their problem, not simply fix it.
As the Brown writes, “if you respond to an unhappy customer by immediately trying to get to a solution, it can possibly backfire and make the customer even more upset. Being unhappy or angry with a company or product puts the customer in a highly emotional state, so the first thing you should try to do is get them into a more agreeable frame of mind.”
Social media is often an opportunity to leverage this principle. You may see multiple Facebook posts about a problem and immediately fix it. While that sounds great, if you do not acknowledge the posts and communicate with the active community, they may not be satisfied and can negate the impact of the fix. Continue reading “Turning unhappy customers”