In the course of regular business activities, it’s almost sure to happen: one of your customers has a serious conflict with you and becomes dissatisfied. Here are some ways to mend broken client relationships and bring good customers back.
Apologize: Sometimes the simplest solution is to apologize for whatever problem occurred that created the unhappy customer. Taking full responsibility for the issue, whether it was a supply problem, a conflict with a staff member or representative, or pricing issue, can be an effective way to show you recognize the problem and are willing to fix it.
- Offer restitution: As part of your apology, consider offering your estranged customer a discount or other financial incentive to come back to you. This should be used only for long-term or high-value customers who have proven their worth to your company.
- Provide a specific plan of action: Tell your customer what you know about the problem and how you intend to ensure such an issue does not occur again. Make it clear you have discovered the source of their dissatisfaction and are prepared to do whatever is in your power to keep them happy.
- Let your employees know: Tell your sales and marketing teams about the problem with the customer and give them the authority to work with the customer to make sure the trouble does not occur again. This may mean that a team has more leeway in dealing with a specific customer’s requests and demands, but that could be worthwhile for retaining a high-value customer and rehabilitating the customer relationship.
- Show appreciation: After a new deal or contract has been finalized, show your returning client your appreciation by offering genuine thanks, providing extra attention during follow-up, or sending a small thank-you gift. A handwritten thank-you card to the manager or owner is an excellent way of getting your client’s attention.
What can you do to fix client relationships between your company and customers who have become dissatisfied?