How to turn a difficult client into a happy one in just 5 steps
There was a company that provided a grocery delivery service to small businesses. One of their clients, a cafeteria manager, called the company’s customer service department in a rage. The delivery, which was confirmed by the company, was late.
The customer service representative who took the call, named Lisa, listened actively and empathetically to the cafeteria manager.
She apologized for the inconvenience and took full responsibility for the issue, even though it was not her fault.
Lisa assured the manager that the company would take immediate action to make sure that the delivery would not be late next time.
She offered to contact the manager a week before to collect orders so the stocks will be replenished immediately. Lisa also gave her updates on the current delivery.
The cafeteria manager was impressed by Lisa’s positive attitude and dedication to resolving the issue. She was grateful for the proactivity and the quick resolution of the problem.
The manager’s relationship with the company became stronger, and her grocery order tripled within the month. Because when the delivery became timely as promised, the manager decided to buy all the supplies from the said company.
True story? Yes. I was the manager in that story.
Lisa’s ability to pacify an irate client like me not only resolved the immediate problem but also helped to strengthen the relationship with the customer.
Here’s a quick rundown of what she did which you can do when facing an irate and difficult client.
- Listen actively and empathetically: Let the client express their frustration and actively listen to their concerns. Show them that you understand their issue and are taking it seriously.
- Take responsibility: Apologizing sometimes irritates the client more. You can simply say that “I will make it right.” Even if the issue was not your fault, doing this shows that you care about their satisfaction.
- Be proactive in finding a solution: Offer to help the client resolve the issue and provide them with a clear plan of action. Keep them updated on the progress of the solution.
- Follow up and follow through: After the issue has been resolved, follow up with the client to ensure that they are satisfied with the outcome.
- Keep a positive and professional attitude: Even in difficult situations, maintain a positive and professional attitude. This will help to defuse the situation and show the client that you are committed to providing excellent service.
Follow-Up: the missing step in customer success
When an unpleasant confrontation happens, the last thing you want to do is to revisit it. This is the reason why many business owners or client-facing employees don’t follow up after they’ve solved the problem.
It’s like saying sorry or giving a peace offering after the argument and then not seeing them anymore. Relationships don’t work that way.
After a solution has been offered and accepted, it is important to confirm with the client that the issue has indeed been resolved to their satisfaction. This helps build trust and shows that the company values the client’s experience.
Asking for feedback is also an important aspect of the follow-up process. This provides an opportunity for the client to voice any lingering concerns or issues.
It also helps the company to understand what it can do better in the future to avoid similar situations.
What’s great about this is you’re able to arrest a problem before it festers and becomes a full-blown can-I-talk-to-your-manager complaint.
Analyzing the root cause of the issue and taking steps to prevent it from happening again is crucial. This shows the client that the company takes their experience seriously and is dedicated to providing high-quality service.
A bandage will not cure cancer
Simply giving in to the whims of an irate client or giving them freebies to make them happy after a misunderstanding may not address the root cause of a client’s frustration and provide a lasting solution to the problem.
When you’re dealing with angry clients, it is important to find a balance between addressing their concerns and maintaining professionalism. This involves showing empathy, offering solutions, and finding a resolution that will work for both parties.
Sucking up to a client may temporarily pacify them, but it is not a sustainable approach to customer service and may harm the company’s reputation.