In every business, there will always be a small percentage of people who are unhappy with your products or services. Even if a company does everything right, there will always be someone who disagrees. The crucial part of any organization is how you handle unhappy clients. Every disgruntled response received from a client creates an opportunity for developing business loyalty.
Think back on businesses that you’ve been unhappy with. Typically, one of two situations occur:
Situation #1. You were unhappy and your concerns were not heard. Chances are you no longer do business with that company.
Situation #2. You were unhappy, your concerns were heard, and a resolution was found. You most likely continue to do business with this company.
Of course, there is always the third situation where no great pains were taken either way, and you may or may not continue your services. The third situation typically occurs with utility companies or television and phone providers.
So how do you take angry business detractors and turn them into happy business promoters? See our top tips for dealing with angry clients below:
Rule #1. Always stay calm.
While this rule is easier said than done, it is crucial that you remain calm. Solutions cannot be found when both parties are outraged. Try to take a deep breath and not say anything that might reflect poorly on your business.
Rule #2. Don’t take it personally.
This rule is especially hard when you own the small business in question. Your hard work, not to mention blood, sweat, and tears, created your business, so it’s hard to listen to complaints. Remember that it’s not about you and one unhappy customer does not define your business.
Rule #3. Always apologize.
Even if you don’t feel like your apology is genuine, it’s important to always say you are sorry. A go-to apology can be “I’m sorry you are experiencing difficulties” because you can usually say (or write) the statement with confidence. Never take more than your share of the blame, but try to be sympathetic to their situation.
Rule #4. Listen carefully.
An overwhelming majority of complaints simply need to be heard. Oftentimes, no resolution is necessary: clients just want to know that you are listening to their problems and considering a long-term solution. Stay optimistic, solution-oriented, and let the client describe the situation in full before speaking.
Rule #5. Use positive language.
Use the client’s name when you address them, and try to use positive replacements for negative statements. For example, instead of “No we don’t offer that service”, say “This tool may help you reach your intended goal.” By maintaining an optimistic approach you can cool tensions and search for solutions together.
Rule #6. Offer a solution.
Do your best to resolve the situation and add something extra for their troubles, even if you only offer a small discount for the next month’s bill. Always offer something in return when possible. Small tokens of appreciation go a long way in securing client relations. Even 5% off helps a client feel like they have been heard and that their business is important to you.
The most important rule for client relations when considering small businesses is to always do your best to remedy the situation. Word of mouth can work quickly when businesses are in their beginning stages. So, be sure to take complaints seriously and show your clients that their business is important to you.