It is inevitable that at some point you will screw up something with a client. It might be a billing issue or it might be a customer support snafu, it will happen. You’ll do everything you can to make sure everyone is happy and everything runs smoothly but the crap will hit the fan. It is how you handle it at that point which is what is important.
The Right Way
- First and foremost, be nice.
- Be helpful.
- Use the clients name but don’t be condescending.
- If you are really in the wrong then admit it. Even if it is not your fault.
- Be reasonable with the customer. Be honest about how the situation will get handled.
- Realize that the situation might be a lot more serious to your customer than it seems to you. Be mindful of this.
The Wrong Way
- Don’t be rude, inconsiderate or sarcastic. You aren’t going to win over an angry customer by being a smart ass.
- Don’t pass an angry customer off to your manager just because you don’t want to deal with them. If you can legitimately help with the situation, do so.
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you aren’t going to give them a refund don’t tell them you will.
- Don’t blame a coworker publicly if something goes wrong. It will show your team is divided and not working together to give the customer the best service possible.
- Avoid using terms like “I don’t know” or “I am not sure.” It is fine if you don’t know but using these terms don’t give the customer hope that you are working on solving the issue. If you have to resort to admitting you don’t know include an estimated time when you will know. Even if you can’t guarantee you will know by then, make the customer happy now and work on keeping them happy later.
Of course every situation you encounter will be different. A different problem, a different customer, a different alignment of the moon and the stars but these rules will keep you safe from complaints. Even if you can’t solve the problems, how you handle them is extremely important.
Most customers want to be nice but frustration and prior customer service nightmares have caused people to go from happy to ballistic without much effort. You’ll need to do everything you can to keep them happy.
Neil Patel has got a great article on other ways to “Get Customers Smiling” that you should definitely check out.
Any other tips on keeping customers happy when a problem arises?