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[82] How to Deal with Unhappy Customers

It can feel like the worst thing in the world to have an unhappy customer.

And I get it, I’ve been there – it’s almost impossible to not take it personally, especially the first time it happens to you in your business journey.

The fact is: it’s inevitable that at some stage in your business you will have an unhappy customer. The old saying ‘you can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time’ holds true for every business, no matter how hard you try or how awesome you are (and I know you’re awesome!).

You can’t live in fear of it happening though! You must contemplate in advance that it is going to happen one day, and rather than stick your head in the sand, be aware and realistic, and ensure you are prepared to deal with an unhappy customer when the time comes.

The truth is: sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes you will stuff up. Sometimes it will be out of your control. Sometimes you will be able to turn it around… and sometimes you won’t.

No matter the situation, this episode outlines some ways you can be prepared and ensure you manage the situation effectively: with compassion, rationality, humility, honestly, and grace.

 

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • An unhappy customer can express themselves either publicly or privately.
  • A private conversation is preferred but often an upset customer will leave public feedback or a bad review – it’s best if you can avoid this, for obvious reasons!
  • There can be so many reasons why people are unhappy. Sometimes it is their fault, sometimes it is yours, and sometimes it is out of both your hands. Whatever the case may be, always approach the situation calmly and be polite, helpful and upbeat.
  • ‘You can’t control how people are going to respond, and you can’t control peoples emotions’. {Jess}
  • First up, don’t panic!
  • If this is the first or second time it has happened it is hard not to panic.
  • Don’t ever respond to a customer in the heat of the moment.
  • If you have someone you trust it can be a good idea to share with them. Two heads are better than one.
  • Be the bigger person
  • Approach the issue from a place of calm rationality.
  • ‘Don’t get caught in the drama’. {Jess}
  • Think logically and rationally and try and be compassionate to your customer.
  • ‘Really try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes as much as you possibly can’. {Jess}
  • Try and work out the underlying reason the customer is upset – often it is not initially clear.
  • Admit your mistakes
  • If you have made a mistake you need to fix it.
  • ‘Own it, fix it, and then move on’ {Jess}
  • Learn from the issues that arise
  • You need to fix the part of the system that is broken so that the same thing never happens again.
  • Stick to your policies and don’t be held ransom
  • If you have not made a mistake and something has gone wrong don’t feel like you’re held ransom by the possibility of a bad review.
  • Your policies should outline all information your customer needs to know so that there are no surprises and you are covered.
  • Always be understanding and kind even if you have not made the error.
  • ‘Think of a way to respond that is empathetic and understanding’ {Jess}
  • If you follow all of the steps you will hopefully be able to turn an unhappy customer into a satisfied or even a happier customer.

 

Download or Listen to This Episode

(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

Jess

Van Den has written 324 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at Epheriell.com. You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.

Comments

Jocelyn Serone
Reply

I agree, it’s hard not to take it personal 🙂 Thankfully, I receive very few unhappy emails from unreasonable customers.I now respond to those emails straightaway, so I can get everything off my chest 🙂 Then…. I save the response to drafts & let it sit for 1/2 hour. The result is amazing. I can go back & take out some of the harsher things I wrote, rewriting these points in a kinder voice & add another detail that I didn’t read the first time. It’s really easy to miss a point your customer is making when you are emotional!

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