Last week, I experienced a “we messed up, but already got your money, so no apology” situation with a big company. That’s exactly how it felt from a customer standpoint of view; they did not care that my first purchase with them messed the mark. You’re probably thinking I am a small business, and “trust me; Tasha I place a lot of thought and care into my customers I would never not value them.” Well, I am going to be honest with you everyone misses the mark sometimes and you end up with miserable customers.
This immediately made me think about how often this happens no matter if it’s a billion-dollar company or small business like your’s or mine. Let’s talk about how to fix the hiccups when the ball is dropped be it service, product, customer service and more.
Understand The Problem At Hand
Too many times, we do not want to be at fault when it comes to error even. It is a very natural reaction to believe the ball was dropped on another end, but definitely, it was not yours. First, do not apologize to admit fault but address the issue at hand. For example, let us use a photographer who just shot an fantastic wedding six weeks ago in the desert area of New Mexico. Her client emails her stating that she and husband are not happy with the gallery that was sent over to them, nor that it has taken over six weeks to see them. Instead, they want all the raw images and want to edit the photos themselves. Most women business owners would immediately go into an “I am so sorry” mind frame and appease the customers’ request. The customer is not always right. As a customer of numerous business and a business owner myself, I am very aware of both sides. The issue your client has is they do not like the photo’s that were submitted to them, but what does your contract say regarding delivery timeframe, raw images, creative directions, and galleries. You now have an understanding of why they are upset so when you respond versus starting with an apology open up with “I hear your concerns regarding XYZ. I would love to break down each one of these concerns to find a solution that best works for the both of us.”
How Can You Fix The Problem
Most of the time, solutions can be found very quickly on the middle ground that appeases all sides involved in the issue. You do not want to lose a customer over $5 or 5,000 dollars. Finding a solution that works best for you and keeps each other happy is ideal. For example, my second year of running my online resale boutique a customer was livid with me that the postal system had indicated her items were on the East Coast when she was on the West Coast. She blamed me for their logistics issue even though once a package lives my office it is literally out of my hands. However, I made sure to keep her abreast of the situation as I was communicating with USPS regarding everything. Customers want their voices to heard concerning the issues at hand. After nine years of business, I have had minimal issues with the customer service or product front, but when the concerns did arise, they taught me valuable lessons.
You solved the problem, and did not lose a paying customer, but did you follow up. This is very imperative to helping you stay in a good relationship with your clients or customers. No one wants to rehash bad blood, but following up with the said person 60 to 90 days to make sure everything is going well is a great way to rebuild the trust. That is the key factor you must remember when it comes to solving the problem at hand, a relationship that was built on trust has now been damaged and needs to be repaired. I am not saying to send them a dozen flowers and chocolates. However, sending an email such as;
How are you doing? Hope all is well, and you’re having a great day. I wanted to follow up regarding that customer service issue we had a couple months back regarding “XYZ.” We both agreed that “xyz” was an amazing solution to your concern. If this was not the case, please let me know. I want to make sure that I have done everything possible to solve the issue.
Straightforward email that mentions the issue, and the solution you both came up with to solve the problem.
No matter if you’re a B2B or B2C based business money has to be exchanged to keep growing. If you mess up with a customer, do not just swipe it under the rug, address the elephant in the room. Find a solution that works for the both of you.