In any business, things do not always go according to plan. Mistakes are made and customers get upset. While this is a business reality, it is how the mistakes are handled that can turn dissatisfied customers into extremely enthusiastic promoters of your brand.
Immediately acknowledge and accept full responsibility for the error. Saying something like the following works best to get your customer relationship on the road to recovery:
“Thank you so much for letting us know about this mistake. We are so sorry we made the error and will immediately begin working on correcting it.”
Most importantly, do not commit the two greatest mistakes of customer service recovery: blaming someone else for the error and/or making excuses. Organizations making these two errors rarely, if ever, retain the customer. Moreover, they transform the customer’s previous disappointment into active, and bitter, disdain.
2. Give your customer an opportunity to share their feelings about the mistake and the trouble it caused them.
Truly listen to, fully acknowledge, and show empathy, about their feedback, specially using their first name:
“I completely understand how you feel and the trouble it caused you Mary. We will make it right.”
3. Propose a solution to correct or unwind the mistake as quickly as possible.
4. Ask the customer if the proposed solution meets or exceeds their expectations.
5. Give the customer reassurance as to how the mistake could never happen again.
6. Give the customer restitution.
Yes, restitution costs money, but pales in comparison to the significant financial loss of losing the customer for the long term, as well as the loss of their customer referrals going forward.
7. Reconnect with the staff members associated with the mistake.
It is so important to do so, for several reasons:
- To ensure that they fully understand how the mistake happened and how to prevent it from happening in the future.
- To bring closure for your staff by letting them know that your customer service recovery efforts were successful in retaining the customer.
If you want a great example of how NOT to retain a customer when something goes wrong, have a look at the “United Breaks Guitars” example I have repeatedly used in my Keynote Speeches & Podcasts:
Hilarious and spot on!
By following the 7 aforementioned tips, you WILL be successful in transforming dissatisfied customers into enthusiastically wild customers of your brand.