How To Treat Disappointed Clients Respectfully
It’s not easy running a business. No matter how small it is, one thing is sure; you need clients! If you don’t have clients, your business is as good as non-existent.
As business owners, we are expected to take proactive measures. This simply means that we make plans for eventualities– you know, things that could possibly happen before they actually happen.
Think of it as having answers and creating solutions to every “What If” that could happen in your business. That’s what proactive measures are about.
However, we know life happens and things do not always go as planned. So, what happens when your client is disappointed or is about to be disappointed because of a slight/serious change in plans? What do you do? How do you tackle the situation? Here’s how to go about it:
Don’t Switch Off Your Phone
Often times, some business owners become unreachable for fear of having to break the bad news to their clients. They either ignore calls or switch off their phones — nothing infuriates an expectant client than being ignored especially after money has been paid. Even worse, it gives you a bad image as you’d be perceived as a fraud.
The ideal thing to do would be to contact your client as soon as you become aware of the issue. It’ll give you both clarity on what can/should be done next and peace of mind.
Once you realize you have disappointed a client or you’re about to do so, DO NOT switch off your phone. DO NOT decide to become unreachable. It doesn’t matter what your reason is, choosing to become unreachable dents your image, integrity, and your brand. No matter how bad the situation is, be bold enough to face it.
This is an extention of the first point. When you reach out to them, be honest. Let your customers know exactly what is going on. Have you run out of stock? Tell them! Are you having troubles sticking to the agreed time? Tell them! Did the vehicle break down? Tell them. Was there an accident? Tell them! Whatever is responsible for the delay or disappointment, let them know. DO NOT feed them with unnecessary lies and false hopes.
It’s easier for both of you to come up with solutions and alternatives when the truth is told than it is for you when you lie. Also it saves you unnecessary stress, anxiety and headaches.
Show some empathy
A delay or disappointment can ruin a client’s plan or even affect an important aspect of their life. This may cause them to react angrily — understandably. When such happens, you have to be patient with them. Let them know that their feelings are valid and that you are deeply sorry. Not only that, but you’re also willing to be of help in whatever way that you can.
This action not only reduces the tension, it also builds some level of trust. It makes them know that you’re not just about the money but that you genuinely care about their satisfaction.
In situations where you are directly involved or accountable for the disappointments, pacifying a client can go a long way. You can give discounts, put in a free extra item or even in some extreme cases, offer a refund or accept a return as the case maybe because at the end of the day, you want your clients to be pleased.
Ultimately, building strong customer relationships aids in the development of a strong image and brand. Best of all, it keeps your clients coming back for more and it increases your chances of getting more customers via referrals.
- Have you disappointed your clients? How did they respond? How did you handle it?
- Have you been disappointed by business owners? What did they do about it? Were you pleased?
Share your thoughts!
Related article: How to Deal With Entitled People
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