If there is one thing that businesses have yet to master the art of and it’s customer satisfaction.
That’s no fault of anyone because if customer satisfaction was that easy to master (if it can be mastered at all), there would be no need for customer service departments, customer service training, or books teaching the numerous ways to please a customer.
The truth is, customers being humans, can never be satisfied. There’s always something else that customers feel can be improved or tweaked for better service.
But, there are ways to deal with difficult customers and more importantly, turn them into raving fans of your product or service. Sounds impossible, but it has been done. The trick is, or rather, the way to achieve this is to get customer service back to basics.
Research has shown that customers turn dissatisfied very quickly not because of the price of a product, but the bad experiences they’ve had with customer service. So, when customers turn difficult, understand that their frustration may have stemmed from previous experiences they may have had with bad customer service.
So how can you turn difficult customers into raving fans? Here are three suggestions:
Take Charge Of The Situation
When a customer starts ranting, it’s easy to get trapped into a war of words and end up with more trouble than you began with. The more difficult option, but the better one is to stay calm and take control of the situation professionally. Customers vent because they want to be heard and acknowledged, so allow them to do that. They will have to stop venting eventually and upon doing so, they would have realized that throughout the entire episode, you never once raised your voice or tried to blow them off. You actually took the time to listen to them and understand their frustrations.
You now have the opportunity to work with the customer in a calm and friendly manner, impressing upon him that you understand and deeply regret his predicament and will do everything possible to resolve the issue in the quickest time possible. With the situation taken charge of professionally, not only will your customer be thoroughly impressed, but you would have just made him a raving fan.
Even Difficult Customers Need To Feel Important
Difficult customers rant and complain not just to be heard, but to feel important enough to contribute something constructive. Customers complain mainly for two reasons: 1) they feel they have been wronged and 2) they feel they’re good enough to comment on certain aspects of your business.
Acknowledging the fact that all customers want to feel important and be treated well is the right step in turning them into raving fans. An effective way of doing this is to do a follow-up call with previously dissatisfied and unhappy customers and find out if your business has fulfilled all their needs and if there is anything else you can do for them. It’s such an underutilized strategy that these customers will have no choice but to return to you again and again.
Give More To Get More
Another strategy to win over difficult customers is to practice the art of giving more than they’ve paid or asked for. Someone said that the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and it could be probably true that the quickest way to a customer’s heart is by giving and giving more.
When customers have been accustomed to getting what they’ve paid for, giving that little bit extra can make a world of difference to them. For example, if it’s a difficult customer who is demanding a refund, something as simple as giving him his full refund with a complimentary gift to compensate for all his troubles can make a difficult customer a raving fan.
So, when it comes to turning difficult customers into raving fans, it’s really about getting back to customer service basics and paying attention to the details. Customers may never ever be fully satisfied, but that’s the price to pay for being human.
About the Author
Robert Moment is an innovative small business coach, customer service consultant and author of “Invisible Profits: The Power of Exceptional Customer Service”.