Complaints and unhappy clients – we all get them from time to time. Even when we don’t deserve it. On one hand, it might be ‘red flag’ clients with impractical expectations driven by a lack of knowledge and/or unrealistic social media standards and selfies. Other times it’s a simple case of things going wrong. Either way, we must handle the situation like the pros we are – with kindness, compassion, and a lot of patience!
Here are some things you can say and do to try and improve the outcome:
Offer them a feedback form. This should be a formal document that you create with the purpose of providing unhappy clients an opportunity to put their thoughts to paper. This will give them an opportunity to vent without immediately turning to google or Facebook reviews. It’s difficult for anyone to vent frustrations verbally, so we guarantee you’ll receive better constructive criticism this way – or in the case that your business isn’t the one to blame, at least this will allow clients to get everything they have to say off their chest before they leave.
Acknowledge what has happened. Ignore the old customer service adage around ‘never apologise’ – we all make mistakes and if something has gone wrong on your end, you should absolutely apologise for it. This is on a case by case basis of course – if the scenario in question was not your fault, don’t simply apologise for the sake of it, but demonstrate to the client that you understand why they’re unhappy. In most cases, unhappy clients simply want to be heard.
Offer a solution – regardless of whose fault it was, try to solve the problem. This is the make-or-break moment where you could convert them to an incredibly grateful, loyal and long-term client who was offered compassion and understanding, OR they could walk out the door forever feeling bitter and let down by their service provider – and be happy to share it with the rest of their social circles.
Once you’ve discussed a solution, ask if they would be happy with it. This is another great method of determining whether they are a ‘can’t be pleased’ client. If they aren’t willing to accept a fair and reasonable solution, there is unfortunately nothing to be done. But it’s always worth a try!
Let clients know you want to help. If something has gone wrong or you didn’t meet their expectations (regardless of whether or not they were realistic to begin with!) you need to reassure them that your clients’ happiness is always your first priority.
Here are a couple of things to not do when dealing with unhappy or unpleasant clients:
Don’t get defensive – this is where your exceptional patience may have to come into play! Even if you have done everything in your power to rectify a situation, continue to demonstrate that a) you are their friend and b) you want to solve their problem – until the very end.
Don’t ask clients to refrain from Google of Facebook reviews – this will not only make you look a little on the desperate side, but make the client feel as though they don’t have a right to share their opinions – which will only fuel them to want to share them more.
For more news and updates, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.