When the Customer Isn’t Right…

When the Customer Isn’t Right…

If you’ve got a great customer feedback system and service recovery strategy in place, your mistakes can turn into golden opportunities for customer retention.

But what if you didn’t make a mistake? What if the customer misunderstood something you said or did? What if their service problem was totally out of your control – the courier’s car broke down, all flights were delayed, there was grid-wide power failure – and you’re getting the blame?

According to customer service experts, you should act the same way you would if it really were your fault. Suck it up, apologize and then do whatever it takes to make things right. Even if you didn’t cause the problem, you’ll still want to swing things onto a positive track. The tricky thing with customers is that there comes a time when you have to decide if you want the future business of the customer or not.

Perennial complainers who complain to take advantage of your business (so that you’ll put your service recovery protocol in place and give them discounts, freebies, etc.) are the type of customer you may be better off sending to your competitor. In fact, not only send them to your competitor, but also recognize that your customer service protocol is actually working and take it as a compliment!

In addition to giving abrasive customers an unfair advantage (getting better treatment and offers than nice people) it also puts your employees in a rotten spot. Your employees have to deal with crabby customers every day.  Just because a customer has bought something from you doesn’t give them the right to abuse your employees. So if you put your people first, they’ll put customers first.

So the long and short of it is: when a customer actually does cross the line, you can tell them that you no longer want their business. And at that point, they cease to have the right to be right.

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