Effectively Addressing Dissatisfied Customers

Regardless of the time and effort dedicated to the execution of a service or product, it is inevitable that every company will experience some level of customer dissatisfaction. The situation becomes more challenging when the customer, in their frustration, begins to engage in belittling behaviors.  A company’s response can at best result in repairing the client relationship and, at its worst, have a damaging effect on the company’s reputation.

Being proactive is imperative and this can begin with providing training to employees who hold roles that require regular interaction with customers. The most advantageous training will include strategic approaches to de-escalate displeased customers, including active listening, managing solution expectations and follow through.

Ensuring the customer feels heard can go a long way.  When a customer feels their concerns are being received as unimportant, it will only compound upon their negative experience. Allowing them to provide details of their customer experience without becoming defensive is an effective method of showing a customer their feedback is valued. Along with asking questions to obtain the thorough understanding that is required to further investigate the source of the problem.

 Well-meaning employees in their attempt to resolve a customer’s complaint could engage in over promising. Employees should be trained on policies and procedures and know what they are authorized to offer. If a customer is promised a solution that cannot be provided, it will only further their bad impression of your company.

“No one called me back” is a common statement made by unsatisfied customers. At the end of the exchange, the customer should be provided with a timeline in which they can expect to be contacted. Gathering information regarding the customer’s preferred contact method is important along with informing them of who or what department they can expect to hear from. If the timeline is in danger of not being met, the customer should receive an update and explanation for the delayed response.

There may be situations in which customers are not willing to wait for a call back. Equipping employees with an escalation tree is vital. Customers often respond better when an offer to connect them to someone with more organizational authority is provided before they make the request to “speak to a manager”. Not only does an established escalation tree aid in calming angry customers, but it can assist in ensuring your employees feel prepared and supported while having difficult conversations with customers.

While your company aims to satisfy, it is recommended to be prepared when customer satisfaction issues arise.