Resolving a negative customer interaction in five easy steps

Posted by Andrew Mead

It’s been said that, on average, a dissatisfied customer tells twice as many people about their experience with your company as a satisfied one . It is vital then that you and your staff are proactive in following up on any negative customer interactions before your unhappy customer has a chance to tell the world and his wife what he thinks of your business. 
The good news is that by following up negative interactions quickly and efficiently, they can more often than not be turned into a positive experience for both you and your customer -- here’s how... 

React Fast
The longer a customer is left to stew over a negative interaction with your company, the more unhappy they will be – and the more time they’ll have to tell others all about it. What’s more, responding quickly is the first step in convincing the customer that you value their business and are genuinely committed to resolving their issue.  

Be prepared to listen

Fixing the original problem is only the first step in resolving a customer complaint. After a negative experience with your business, your customer will likely feel upset, let down, angry -- or a combination of the three. Part of your job now is to allow them to vent those feelings. Don’t interrupt, don’t offer up excuses, and most importantly, don’t take offence. 

Understand your customer’s point of view
Although it is important, it is not simply enough just to let your customer get their frustration off their chest. You should also make an effort to understand their point of view and empathise with them over their annoyance at the situation. A simple, “I can see why you’re frustrated, I would be too” can go a long way here - as can a simple apology. 

Find a solution, together
Don’t just offer a stock resolution, work with your customer to find out what they would consider a good resolution and do what you can to facilitate that for them. Once you have both agreed on a way forward, explain each step of the process and offer a timeline for getting things sorted. If you have been dealing with the complaint over the phone, follow up with an email, apologising once more and confirming how you intend to resolve the issue. 

Get back in touch
The final step in the process is to check back in with the customer once the issue has been settled, to find out if they are happy with how things were resolved and whether or not they require any further assistance. This highlights once more your commitment to excellent service from start to finish and not just in an effort to placate an angry customer. 

For more customer service tips, check out the Fleetmatics blog and follow us on Twitter and Facebook. 

By Fleetmatics

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