Dealing with an unhappy customer is one of the oldest and most predictable things an organisation has to perform.
Can you please every customer? No! – says marketer, entrepreneur, author and retail consultant Martin Butler. In his book “It’s not about us – It’s all about them”, he claims there will always be a 2% that you can’t please. And that’s OK, because we all need to remember we are not running our business for the 2%. Rather, let’s focus on pleasing the 98% – they’ll be the ones who keep coming back.
But how can we turn a customer who is complaining, into a customer who is a fan?
Butler argues that going into a conversation with a customer who is unhappy should be viewed “as a gift from a privileged source.”
OK, some of us might not feel like it’s a ‘gift’! However, if we approach it from that perspective, it will underpin the actions that we can take in response – whether it’s online, person-to-person, via the contact centre, verbal or non-verbal.
Here’s the essence of Butler’s argument.
A truly customer-focused organisation will understand that customers who are complaining are actually in a state of emotional vulnerability. They might be susceptible, he says, to become a fan if handled swiftly and effectively! Let’s walk towards helping them, rather than walking away.
What is our “approach mindset”? Below, are Butler’s Four (4) Principles:
It costs more to acquire than retain a customer. We repeat – more to get them than to keep them! Immediate compensation or reward will address the dissatisfaction – the likely result, we hope, should be to keep them as a customer.
Flip the situation. Aim to make the complainant start to feel very special. Personalise the situation by getting someone to own it, and aim for a swift recompense which may be more than they expected. Outcome, happier customer!
Reciprocity could result in advocacy. Customers who are dealt with quickly, and in a better way than they expected, may wish to show their appreciation in return. Reciprocity is a natural human trait. It’s one big step towards the complainant being a fan of your business, and they eagerly want to tell others how well they’ve been dealt with.
The customer is not always right and time-wasters should be dealt with. They’re likely known to your business, or will become known. Remember you are not running your business for the 2% who will try to rip you off – rather, the 98% who will not!
‘With a world turned upside down by technology, customer obsession is everything’