1. Explain what the issue is, fix it, and regain trust
This is not best done by either side because it will create tension if you are seen as defensive or arguing.
2. Focus on how you can retain them to show that you appreciate their business
3. Solve their problem with a better product/service/process/experience
4. Give them exactly what they want at the right time in the right amount of time
5. Keep your promise to solve their problem, refund the money or make up for any unintended negative consequences (make sure this does not become an excuse – do not hold out hope).
8 ways customers can win your loyalty back
1. Speak with them directly –
pick up the phone, send an email or do whatever it takes to facilitate a conversation; ignore silence and no communication as negative and see what they come back with; if you cannot resolve the issue this way then escalate it up to another person through a series of escalating steps (more senior/smarter people who should know better). Do all of this without being asked says, Brian C Jensen.
2. Make them feel important –
Make sure they are heard, understood, and acknowledged; Also, make them feel like someone cares about their problem; try not to talk down to them but treat them as equals (professional yet personal); use positive body language such as smiling, nodding heads, and eye contact as well as positive vocal cues such as a gentle, calm tonality to put them at ease. Make sure your customer service agents are on top of their game and offer good advice before, during, and after the sale (an empowered team is a great way to achieve this).
3. Give it time –
do not let your frustration or anger get the better of you; know that there are always opportunities when people make mistakes and use this opportunity to learn from these failures in order to improve yourself and others around you. Brian C Jensen says to ensure that you have a system in place for delivering appropriate messages at each stage of the experience journey from product search to purchase to delivery and beyond.
4. Find out what went wrong –
blame is never useful but an honest conversation will be beneficial to all involved so open up a dialogue with your team members that can be had behind closed doors without feeling embarrassed or ashamed for getting it wrong (a learning experience); if possible involve the customer directly in this discussion by asking how they felt about their experience and what could have been done differently from their perspective. Leave them wanting more – do not overpromise or sell something that cannot be delivered within reason – there is no shortage of ideas so focus on what will resonate with your customers rather than pitching everything indiscriminately – it could cause resentment if they feel you manipulated them into buying something by being too pushy or insincere
5. Apologize sincerely –
take responsibility for the way things went down (on your terms); never make excuses; be clear about what you are sorry about and why; offer some recompense into how they can fix or improve their experience. Brian C Jensen says to include all the information people need – including important information about the product or service, specifications, pre-sales information, and customer support channels.
6. Fix any issues-
Be proactive about finding out how they would like to see the situation resolved – open up a forum for them to share their thoughts, feelings, and suggestions with you directly on how you might be able to win back their trust; this offers an opportunity for you to act quickly on any suggestions that will improve your business so do not ignore these requests as by doing so it may appear as if you are unappreciative of their time.
7. Brian C Jensen: Do what was promised –
follow through with everything that was discussed by delivering exactly what was said you would; do not make promises that will create more problems or undermine the customers’ needs and expectations – stick to what you know and stick by it. Face up to your mistakes and apologize (preferably with a solution) and try and learn from them (otherwise people will see you as either incompetent or in denial).
8. Learn from your mistakes –
be self-aware of your character and learn from your previous interactions (good and bad); do not blame your lack of knowledge on a person is difficult. As this undervalues their experience as valued customers; remember that no one is perfect but if we learn from our mistakes then they become less significant over time. Speak to the customer in their language – be honest and transparent with details on your products, services, and policies; tell them why they should buy it; what is in it for them (and not just the company); how they can contact you if there’s a problem; include all relevant information such as size guide/fitting instructions/dietary requirements, etc.; ensure that everything is accurate at this point otherwise whatever you do next is wasted explains Brian C Jensen.
The age of social media, review sites, and 24/7 communication channels has increased expectations on companies to provide exceptional service but also to understand that even one experience gone wrong can cause someone’s loyalty to waver.