You just can’t please all of the people all of the time. Do you deal efficiently and courteously with the fallout and then transforming a dissatisfied customer into a satisfied one?
KEEP YOUR COOL
Yes, you’re cross, you’ve been embarrassed in public. It’s easy to take it out loudly on your employees (in front of the customer to show how much you care and that it wasn’t YOUR fault?). Don’t do it. You embarrass the customer, broadcast your company's incompetence to the rest of the world and you appear belligerent. Don’t try to explain or look for excuses, just apologise and empathize.
LISTEN ACTIVELY AND VISIBLY
Listen carefully to all that the customer has to say. Let them know through your body language - eye contact and facial expressions - that you are taking his complaint seriously and that you plan to do something about it.
DON’T ALLOW THE CUSTOMER TO WALK AWAY
After he has had his complaint heard, a customer may walk away from the problem. He may say “it doesn’t matter”, but he will hold a grudge - and tell others. Every business should have some kind of a token to give away when things go wrong. Airlines upgrade to first class, restaurants give away a free drink. As well as finding a solution, find some extra way to say "I'm sorry for your trouble."
FIND A SOLUTION THAT THE CUSTOMER THINKS IS FAIR
Don’t focus [yet] on what happened, or look for someone to blame. Rather focus on the solution: Ask "What would you like to see us do in this situation?" or "What do think would be fair in this situation?". Get an idea of what the customer is expecting you to do – it may be less than you think.
WHAT IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD A “FAIR” SOLUTION
You may discover that while you cannot meet the demand, you are quite able to satisfy the reasons that led to the demand. If you can’t give him exactly what he wants, try to identify the reasons your customer is upset and then answer those needs. If he has been embarrassed by your error, offer to apologise to his boss or his customers.
DON’T MAKE MISTAKES TWICE
Once the customer has left and tempers have cooled, ask whoever is at fault for a written report of how the problem happened and what suggestions they have to ensure it won’t happen again. (A written report is punishment in itself to most people, and allows the person to rationally outline the fault. Verbal reports are usually emotional, defensive and unpleasant for both parties).
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