How to Recover From Mistakes and Appease Unhappy Clients

How to Recover From Mistakes and Appease Unhappy Clients - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit Pixabay

Few things are as stressful for a business owner or customer support representative as an angry client. A bad review can harm your business’ reputation and drive off future customers, and an irate person on the phone can make it challenging to keep your emotions calm and the conversation constructive.

The way in which you handle these moments is critical to your business’ reputation, to the satisfaction of your individual clients, and to your integrity as a business owner.

Here are five strategies that will help you to navigate this challenging terrain, so you can protect your business’ image, improve your relationships with your current clients, and make yourself more attractive to potential clients:

 1. Don’t get angry and defensive.

When you’re being accused of something, and you feel like you’re under attack, it’s natural to want to protect yourself and to prove your accuser wrong.

But if you want to reconcile with your displeased client, and protect your business’ reputation, then it’s important not to treat your client as the enemy or to prioritize your pride over their needs.

Stay calm and polite, and remember that your goal is to satisfy your client, not to silence them.

2. Take responsibility for your part in creating the problem.

If there was a misunderstanding, tell them, “I can see how what I said could have come across that way. That wasn’t what I meant, and I’m sorry for the mix-up. What I was trying to say was…” and then explain your point of view. 

That allows you to explain yourself, without turning it into an argument over what you did and did not say.

Or, if you made a mistake in your product, service or scheduling, tell them, “I’m sorry for (the mistake you made). It’s very important to me that you get what you need from my service, and I want to make it up to you.”

3. Ask questions and seek understanding.

This may seem counterintuitive because when someone is saying bad things about you, it’s natural not to want to hear more. But the first step toward reconciling with another person is to understand the source of their upset and to demonstrate that their problem matters to you.

So instead of trying to silence the angry client, ask them questions, and do your best to get a complete understanding of the problem. Also, ask if there are any other problems they’ve been having with you or your product.

This shows that you’re truly committed to making sure they have a good experience with you, and it gives you a chance to expose and deal with any hidden sources of resentment that might otherwise poison your relationship and their opinion of your company.

It also gives you a chance to learn and fine-tune your practices, so you can give better service to your future clients.

4. Pay attention to what your clients say.

One mistake that I’ve seen even large companies make, over and over again, is to make it obvious that they didn’t truly listen to their clients’ questions and concerns.

Sending the same information repeatedly, giving the client a link to the exact same help page on which they were requesting clarification, and sending links to forums that address the general topic of their problem, but that don’t actually offer a workable solution, are examples of mistakes I’ve personally seen.

When you or your customer support team have a lot of incoming mail, phone calls, reviews or support tickets to respond to, it can be tempting to cut corners and just skim over the messages instead of paying attention to each one.

But that approach creates the risk of telling your clients that you don’t care about them, and of destroying their faith in your willingness and ability to provide quality service.

It can also cause you to spend MORE time on each support call or ticket than you otherwise would have, because of all the time that was spent sending incorrect or partial solutions rather than finding the right one.

In the wise words of John Wooden, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

5. Offer a concrete solution.

If you missed a call because of a misunderstanding regarding time zones, set up a system for making sure that you’re both talking about the same time zone next time.

If your product had a defect, either tell them how to fix it or send them a replacement.

If something you said offended them, suggest a way in which you can handle discussing the offending topic more courteously in the future, and ask if that would work for them. Also, ask if there are any other topics on which you need to tread lightly or any other things you said that bothered them.

Whatever the nature of the mistake or misunderstanding, by proposing a concrete, specific solution, you show that you take the problem seriously and that you’re committed to giving your clients the best experience and service possible.

Stephanie O’BrienStephanie O’Brien is a copywriter and business expert. She specializes in helping coaches to create high-selling group programs and fill them with clients, so they can help more people, make more money, and have more free time.
To learn more about her, and to discover how to attract more clients and change more lives, visit www.coachclientconnection.com.

Relationship Building : How to Expand Business Network

Relationship Building : How to Expand Business Network - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit: Pixabay

A relationship building activity in business is a far cry from building personal relationships. Yet, business relationships do have some similarities that clearly require good interpersonal skills and communication. When it is time to expand a business network, it takes a bit of planning and design to affect seamless relationship building activities. To learn how to build a relationship of this nature, there are several precursors to define. These include:

  • Existing business visibility
  • Business reputation and branding
  • Type of target market
  • Significance of the business as part of a community online and off

How to Build a Business Relationship

Networking is defined by a host of inclusives. These can be business and industry associates, a loyal clientele, links to community organizations and a well-structured plan of public relations. To learn how to build a relationship, a business must first study the “reflection in the mirror” of the business image. What does that reflection say about the business? Is it customer friendly or somewhat detached and indifferent? The importance of the steps to learn how to build a business relationship can be a catalyst to greater expansion of the business network. For example, the first step to build business relationships is “outreach.” This simply implies the method by which the business intends to draw together a close relationship with clients. Other steps of outreach to clients can include hosting onsite programs or online programs. It can also include special events.

The most important feature of outreach is “familiarity” with each client on an individual basis to learn their needs and their buying impulses. When the business is familiar with its clients, this is a free exchange in which clients also become familiar with the business. This leads to a reliable clientele of buyers.

Business Network Expansion Ideas

It may seem ironic that a business must rely equally on local as well as online communities to expand the business network. Putting a face to the business name is crucial to increase business reputation.

Consider the benefits of a networking event. In many industries, a networking event ensures greater real-time visibility than might be afforded through online contact alone. For example, ANTEC is a networking event attended by plastics engineers for over 70 years. It is attended by thousands of technicians, R&D scientists, professors and students and engineers, as well as tech support, sales, and marketing specialists, manufacturing managers and supervisors. This event provides exhibits, presentation of technical white papers and a host of program presenters linked to the plastics industry. Attending this international event expands the business network through exchanges of ideas and information between industry business leaders and other interested individuals. It takes nearly one year of planning that begins with publicity and registration at local levels of business. This shows the local business community the extension of each related business to the wider range of business potential.

How Corporate Responsibility is Related to the Community

Corporations have long been involved in external events and activities that show a deep sense of corporate social responsibility to the community. Many organizations are recipients of the benefits of corporate social responsibility to the community. For example, the Dow Jones facility located in South Brunswick, NJ shows its corporate responsibility to the community through its Family Center in Monmouth Junction, NJ. Another example is the corporate healthcare giant, Johnson & Johnson, each year this corporation sponsors an “Energy Coloring Contest” for children. However, Johnson & Johnson annual provides charitable donations worldwide to communities to promote women’s and children’s health with programs such as “Mom and Baby”, “TB Free World”, and “AIDS-Free Future.” This shows how deeply ingrained corporate social responsibility to the community has become.

On a more local level, small businesses regularly connect their businesses to networked associations like Chambers of Commerce where events like “Aligning Business Goals with a Healthy Workforce” and the “Invest in America Summit” held in Washington DC bring together leaders in businesses from local chamber members. The importance of local fundraising events by charities like Catholic Charities, Aleph Institute and Salvation Army and civic groups such as the International Lion’s Club, Rotary and Elks, all provide community outreach sponsored by local businesses and corporations.

Some Relationship Building Activities Businesses

There are seven relationship building activities businesses can do to build relationships and get involved with the community. These include:

  1. Inviting community leaders from the government and educational sectors to work together to identify goals and values that link businesses with the community more closely. For example, the business and community leaders might plan an annual Founders Day festival sponsored by businesses and put your local movements on social media. The community leaders could provide historical exhibits and enactments for children and adults.
  1. Business could also take part in goal planning for the environment within the community. This could include restoration of areas with soil erosion or deteriorating municipal structures.
  1. Businesses should maintain awareness of upcoming plans for community events like recycling programs and be willing to assist with providing speakers and programs.
  1. Businesses can increase their social responsibility to the community by encouraging “Open House” events that provide all business the opportunity to welcome the public.
  2. It is also important to make connections for people to network with each other. For example, self-help programs, photography clubs, book clubs and even ballroom dance clubs are a great way for people to network socially.
  1. Another activity that helps expand the business network is to sponsor local athletic teams for softball, soccer, basketball or football for adults and children. Many businesses also sponsor bowling leagues and providing team uniforms for their athletic teams. Sponsorship is always a way to increase publicity and public awareness of each business.

Study the tips on building relationships and the activities that promote better business relationships between clients, vendors and business networks. With a little effort, expenditure of time and dedicated funding, businesses find they enjoy a greatly expanded business network for the long-term.

Sally SmithSally Smith is a marketing manager with years of experience in marketing communication and strategic planning. The rise of the age of social media led her interest to center around digital marketing. At the present, she works for Real Estate Academy Australia, a company which offers real estate training courses in Queensland.

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