In a perfect world, one where food didn’t have calories and jury duty was but an ancient tradition long-since abolished due to human rights violations, unhappy customers simply wouldn’t exist.
Unfortunately for us, food does have calories, jury duty still makes us want to pull our hair out, and unhappy customers do exist.
As Celebrants, we have a lot to live up to when handling our clients’ most precious moments. But we’re also human, and no matter how hard we try, we cannot satisfy everyone.
We can, however, learn to deal with these unsatisfied clients in the best way possible to not only appease them, but grow our business.
When dealing with angry customers, try to keep these 6 things in mind:
Make them feel heard
Contrary to what you might think, what most angry customers appreciate more than simply solving their problem is making them feel as though they’re understood.
In a ¨customer’s always right¨ day and age ¨I’m sorry¨ simply doesn’t cut it, and can oftentimes sound disingenuous and distant. ¨It must be frustrating for you to…¨ or ¨I can only imagine the stress this has caused…¨ are much better alternatives to responding to a client’s grievances, showing them that not only are you recognizing their criticism, but empathising with it.
It’s easy to get defensive and try to cover-up your shortcomings when someone points them out, but believe me when I say admitting your faults goes a lot further than pointing the finger elsewhere or desperately covering up your mishaps. Like I said, we’re human! It’s easy to get angry about a mistake, but it’s a lot more difficult to get angry when the person responsible is truthful and genuinely apologetic about it.
Give them something they want
In the best of cases, you can find out exactly what your customer wants (or wants fixed) and provide it. But in other cases what they’re unhappy about cannot be undone. When this happens, try to make up for it by finding an alternative service or ¨want¨ that they may be interested in. Perhaps the photographer you recommended for their wedding came up with underwhelming photos or bad customer service. You may offer your newlyweds a post-wedding photo session on the house. Although it may result in some money out of your pocket (or business, in this case), this gesture of goodwill won’t go unnoticed, and they’ll be more likely to refer you to others in search for a Celebrant.
Ask them for feedback and use it to improve
It won’t always be easy to swallow, but negative feedback can work in your favour. You have the opportunity to hear from someone who has had direct contact with your product or service. Think of it as a free focus group! What better way to understand how others view your work and what you can do to make it better? Negative feedback is a blessing in disguise. You’ll also show them you are actively working to improve the customer experience.
Build a positive reputation
You won’t always be able to convert a dissatisfied client into a loyal fan, but what you are able to do is make sure you keep moving forward, focusing on maintaining top quality service to the rest of your clients. Successful companies aren’t immune to criticism, but that criticism doesn’t have to negatively affect the business if the majority of their following have had positive experiences. In other words, don’t let one bad apple ruin the bunch.
Remember, the last contact with your customer is what will stick with them in the end. Showing a genuine interest in the their well-being will not only make them happy, it’ll increase the chances of your business growing.