How To Respond To Unhappy Clients?
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“I’m not happy with your service”.
“Using your services was the worst experience I’ve ever had”.
“Your employees don't care about customers”.
If you’ve ever been confronted by frustrated and sometimes angry customers, you know how challenging responding to them can be. After all, you’re a business owner, passionate about what you do and committed to delivering the best experience possible to your customers.
So, when a customer complains, it can hurt.
Yet, you need to control your emotions and stay courteous while deescalating the situation and, if possible, turning things around.
Sound easier said than done?
So, to help you, we’ve shared below some tips on how to respond to unhappy clients.
How To Respond To Unhappy Customer Emails?
57% of customers would rather contact a brand via social media or email to voice their frustration rather than over the phone. This means that your customer service emails must be on point to calm them down and protect your company from negative mentions and negative reviews.
Here are some key steps you should take when responding to unhappy customer emails:
- Opening - This is where you say hello and thank the customer for their feedback.
- Empathy - In this paragraph, you want to acknowledge their frustration and empathise by telling them that you understand how they feel and you’re disappointed that they had such a poor experience with your brand.
- Apology - In the apology section, you should tell them you’re sorry as you’re committed to delivering a high level of service to all of your customers.
- Emphasise On The Importance Of Customer Satisfaction - In the next paragraph, highlight the importance of customer satisfaction for you and thank them for their feedback as it’ll allow you to improve customer experience in the future.
- Resolution - Let the customer know that you’ll take all the necessary steps needed to escalate and fix the issue and ask them how you can remedy the situation.
How To Respond To Unhappy Clients On The Phone Or Face To Face?
While emails give you the time to collect your thoughts, take a deep breath and edit your response, when dealing with an angry customer face to face or over the phone, you don’t have the luxury of time. You need to be able to handle the complaint efficiently and diplomatically on the spot. And that can be challenging and nerve-wracking.
So, here are a few steps you should follow when handling real-time customer complaints:
- Say Calm - This can seem hard, especially if the person is particularly agitated or rude, but keeping your composure will help you show your professionalism and deescalate the situation.
- Practice Active Listening - Active listening is a technique where you not only make a conscious effort to hear every word the customer is saying, but you also repeat back what the customer said to ensure you’ve understood their concern. This way, they’ll feel heard.
- Apologise For The Inconvenience - Saying “I’m sorry” can go a long way and help the customer calm down. Also, empathise by telling them you understand why they’re frustrated. This will help you establish trust.
- Be Wary Of Your Body Language - Between 70 and 93% of communication comes from body language. So, it’s important to adopt the right body language techniques. Unfold your arms and ensure the palms of your hands are open. Maintain eye contact and give your customer some space.
- Be Genuine - Acknowledge that the problem comes from you if that’s the case. This will help the customer feel like you’re genuinely sorry and are trying to help.
- Use The Three Magic Words: Feel, Felt and Found - For instance, let’s say the customer is frustrated because you don’t accept vouchers. You should answer something along the lines of “I understand how you feel, and a few of our customers have felt the same way at first. However, what they found is that the inconvenience of not being able to use their voucher here was far outweighed by the quality and the level of personalisation of our service.”
- Take Control Of The Situation - Once you’ve established what the problem was and both agreed that’s what caused frustration or disappointment for your customer, it’s time to talk about the solutions. This step is critical because this is where you could turn things around and maybe keep your customer as a customer. If you’re at fault, offer a refund or a free replacement and give them a discount for the next time they use your services or products. Give them your personal details and let them know that should they experience another issue in the future, they can come to you directly. Showing that you’re solution-oriented is the best way to calm customers down and win them back.
- Remove The "Problem" From The Situation - If one of your team members is the reason a customer is unhappy, kindly ask them to leave the area. Having them around is likely to only make the customer more unhappy and potentially make the situation worse. If you or your business is the reason for concern, try to follow the steps above first - if this doesn't work, remove yourself from the situation and ask your next-in-line team member to try and handle the situation.
If you've received a negative review online, be sure to check out this article which will guide you through a few tips on how to respond!
Protect Your Business From Potential Claims
If your unhappy customers have been injured or their property has been damaged due to your business operations, you could face legal action, which could cost you your business.
That’s why you need business insurance.
At upcover, we specialise in business insurance for small business owners like you. So, to find the best insurance cover for your needs, don’t hesitate to use our free instant quote generator, where you can get an estimate on market-leading insurance in seconds. Simply enter your occupation and expected revenue to get started.