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  • Brass Tacks

Unhappy Customer - Customer Service

No matter how hard we try to be perfect eventually somebody is going to be unhappy with us or our business. It is NEVER fun dealing with an unhappy customer and for a small business, it can seem almost life shattering when someone is not 100% satisfied.

Below are 5 strategies that have helped us responding to unsatisfied customers.

1. Take a Deep Breath

We know it's a bit cliche, but taking a breath, stepping back, and giving yourself some time to digest the fact that somebody is not loving on you at the moment truly helps. The fact that you care someone is not happy is a great sign. In fact, think about it this way.........aren't you happy they told you they aren't happy? Now you get a chance to fix it! Leading us to our next suggestion........

2. Put Yourself in Their Shoes.

This can be extremely helpful, especially in cases where you may feel as though it is not your fault that the customer is upset.

Ask yourself the following :

  • Why is this person upset?

  • What were their expectations?

  • Was my description of my service/product clear?

  • Did I fulfill my promises?

  • Did I communicate clearly with my customer?

Chances are that by asking yourself the above - you'll better understand your customer's feelings and then be able to address the issue from there.

3. Draft a "What you really want to say" Email.

There's no nice way to say it.....sometimes customers can be jerks. We are all just human and when we are upset we can act out and do/say things we normally wouldn't. If you find yourself in a "well let me tell you" kind of mood after receiving a complaint, give yourself the opportunity to blow off some steam by writing a NEVER TO BE SENT email. (My advice, write the email in Word to ensure it doesn't "accidentally" get sent). Swear a couple times, be petty, lay it all out there and just get it off your chest. Read it back to yourself a couple times and relish in those zingers and insults. Then select all and DELETE.

It is perfectly okay to be mad and it is healthy to get it off your chest. BUT you never, ever, EVER, want to say rude, harsh, or mean things to your customer. 1 - It's unprofessional 2 - EVERYBODY and their mom knows how to post things to the internet 3 - You're better than that and you owe it to yourself and business to be better.

4. Ask Yourself "If roles were reversed what would I want from my business"

So you've taken your deep breath, released anger in a never sent email, and hopefully determined the source of the issue by putting yourself in your customer's shoes. Now how do you fix it? We recommend finding the answer to this questions by switching roles.

If you had received the service or product in the way your customer did and were upset.........what would make it better? Wanna step it up a notch.......what would not only make it better, but what could you do or offer that would take that person from being an upset customer to a fully satisfied, biggest fan of your business EVER!!

You might be surprised to find out it doesn't always have to be a full refund or something for free. Here are some other options:

  • Bad service: Offer a discount off for a future purchase or visit. This not only hopefully gets the customer back in the door, but also gives you a chance to prove you can do better.

  • Faulty product: Within reason and limitations fix it if you can.

  • Sincerely Apologize: Be sure to thank the customer for reaching out to you and giving you a chance to make the situation right. Acknowledge their complaints and explain that you not only are sorry for any misdoings, but that you want to be better.

  • Give Them Options: You don't always have to decide what the customer will get. If you have a couple different ideas on how to fix the situation, give the customer the choice.

5. Realize the Customer IS NOT Always Right

This is the exception........not the rule. Every so often you may have a customer that you can't make happy. If a customer is being abusive to you or your employees, has truly unrealistic expectations, or is complaining simply to try and take advantage of you and your business, it is your choice to serve that customer.

Be sure that before you ever "fire" a customer that you do so having fully considered the pros and cons. Also be sure to "fire" the customer as professionally and kindly as possible. Remember EVERYBODY AND THEIR MOTHER knows how to use/ post/share things online. It is 100% possible that by firing a customer you can lose others, but sometimes you as a business owner have to do what you have to do.

Hopefully you don't have to implement these strategies anytime in the near future but if you do we hope they are helpful and get you and your customer to a better place!

Happy Making!

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