The customer is always right. This slogan has been the foundation of good customer service since the early 1900s. But what does it mean? Does it mean that when a customer complains, you have to agree with everything they say? Not necessarily. “The customer is always right” is a mindset, a way of business, and a useful tool in making your company better than it would be otherwise. Taking complaints and insults and turning them into constructive criticism is one of the hardest things an entrepreneur can do. Here are five tips for making it happen.
It’s human nature to be proud of what we’ve achieved. So when you launch a new product you spent weeks working 22 hours a day on, making sure every detail is perfect, don’t get angry or frustrated if a customer complains it’s not the best gizmo ever. The customer doesn’t know how hard you worked, and they don’t care. Their only concern is hearing how what you have to offer can affect their lives for the better.
Swallowing your pride is not an easy thing to do. The first response to a negative comment is generally to defend your work. Never do this with a customer. Bite your tongue. Breathe a bit. Then, smile and thank them for their feedback. With all the Internet blogs, review sites, and social media options, an angry customer has way too many ways to hurt you and your business for you to be engaging them in a shouting match.
Listen to your customers. Sometimes you can get really good information from what seems like an angry rant. Being able to read between the lines can be priceless.
For example, say a customer wants to download a copy of your app, and it took them twenty minutes to find the button for it.
From this comment, you must then sit down and figure out what he needs. Is the download button functioning? Is your server overloaded because of the amount of traffic you have? If this complaint is recurring, it’s time to address the problem.
Ask for help.
Even angry customers will help if you ask them. By offering a survey or a contact number, you give dissatisfied customers a chance to fully explain what it is you’re doing wrong. Just ignore the curse words and insults to your intelligence.
Remember, even if you’re being insulted, you’ll get a priceless glimpse into what improvements can be made. Fixing issues will help you retain complaining customers, and stop the bleeding among those who would otherwise go to a competitor.
Apologize and mean it.
“I’m sorry” is difficult to say, especially if you feel you shouldn’t be apologizing. Customers who don’t read the description on your eBay listing can make you want to strangle them. Say it anyways, and offer a refund, or a discount on their next purchase. By doing so you may find a repeat customer, and that’s one less negative comment you’ll have to overcome. It may also lead to tweaking how you list items so certain info is more obvious to future customers.
Whether your business is online or brick-and-mortar, a smile can be seen or felt in how you deal with customers. If you’re bright red and screaming while typing out a response, better give it a proofread before hitting send. As hard as we try, as safe as we think we play it, emotions are hard to suppress.
Try this: write down a basic response to a customer complaint. Next time you’re angry or frustrated at something, record yourself saying this response. Then take a breath, smile (no teeth gritting allowed), and record the same message. Listen to the difference.
People like happiness. If your customers think you’re genuinely happy to hear from them and help with their issues, they will respond to that.
Always remember the customer is your first priority. With good customer service, you will retain customers and build a stronger business.