Thursday, February 12, 2009

60-Second Guide to Managing Upset Customers

Having respect for your customers will ensure their faith in and loyalty to you and your retail business. Studies show that it is nine times more difficult to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing one, so it is critical to keep your current customers happy. Surveys, focus groups, and questionnaires are helpful ways to measure your customers' perceptions of your business and to determine how to improve.

If a customer is dissatisfied, take action immediately to win back their confidence in the services that you provide. People like to know that their opinion counts and if they feel like you care about what they think, they will think positively of you and your business.

In just 60-seconds, you'll learn how to manage upset customers and turn them into long-term, satisfied customers.

0:60 Stay Calm
Listen carefully and without interruption to your customers' complaints. Acknowledge that there is a problem, and empathize with unhappy customers. Let them know what you can do for them and make them aware of all of their options. Always treat your customers with respect. Customers should feel that you are calm but concerned. Your attitude when dealing with upset customers should be professional, mature, pleasant, and reasonable.

0:46 Work At Gaining Loyal Customers
The number one reason that customers stop buying from a particular business is because someone at that business treated them poorly. Again, it is much more cost effective to retain loyal customers than to gain new ones. In order to create loyalty, you have to calm down upset customers and ensure them that you will work to find a solution that they deem acceptable. Let them know that their business is important. Thank them for their patience and cooperation. In many cases, it pays to reward upset customers in order to keep their business.

0:38 Look And Act Professional
A first impression is a lasting impression. Your appearance should signal that you are professional, mature, and knowledgeable. Nonverbal communication also speaks volumes. Your body language and tone of voice should be polite and tactful. Pay attention to your facial expressions, posture, gestures, and speech.

0:20 Choose Your Patrons
There are some people who will never be happy with your products or services. Repeated complaints from a customer and terminal dissatisfaction are signs that you cannot please him or her. Your business is better off without such customers, and you may want to refer them elsewhere.

0:11 Ensure That Mistakes Aren't Repeated
Once you determine the problem and how it originated, you can take steps to ensure that it does not happen again. Learning about a problem can actually help improve your business so long as you ensure that the problem is avoided in the future. Don't make the same mistake twice. Through dealing with upset customers, you learn about human behavior and become better at resolving similar situations.

0:03 Don't Take Criticism Personally
Many discourteous customers act that way because they made a mistake and want to blame someone else. Don't let these customers get to you by responding emotionally or giving in to outrageous demands. Tears, anger, and sarcasm are highly inappropriate reactions.

Source: SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business"

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