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How to Deal With an Unhappy Customer

<p>Nobody is perfect. You can make mistakes and might have to deal with unhappy customers as your career progresses. Since you do not have access to a customer service department anymore, you are now the person in charge. It may well not be your cup of tea. You may have no clue how or where to start. Here are some pieces of advice on how to deal efficiently with an unhappy customer.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>This is our situation: It is Monday morning and you are connecting to social media in order to read the latest articles and prepare a new post about some new services you offer. Suddenly, you see a bad review from one of your customers directly on your Facebook page. You are surprised. You know this customer, you worked for him last month. His review does not paint a very pretty picture of you and everybody can see it. What must you do? Although it is very tempting to erase the comment, we suggest you keep it for now if it is not heinous or completely unreasonable. You must reply to the review and try to calm down your customer in order to protect your reputation. Take a deep breath and a sip of coffee. Let&rsquo;s start.</p> <h3><strong>Gather Information Before Contacting the Unhappy Customer</strong></h3> <p>Find out as much as you can about your customer and the work you did for him before contacting him. What were the work, your terms, and agreements? It is likely that you do not remember everything; therefore, take the time to read all notes, emails or documents related to your customer. This will allow you to prepare yourself before contacting him. One of the best-known frustrations of unhappy customers is having to repeat their story over and over again. Do you feel more comfortable with contacting your customer by phone or by email? It is true that it might be easier to write an email instead of talking on the phone; however, people often appreciate when you take the time to call them directly.</p> <h3><strong>Contact and Listen</strong></h3> <p>When you are ready and have read all pertinent notes, contact your unhappy customer. Obviously, it is important to remain calm whether it is during your phone call or when you will write your email. Take also the time to answer the negative comment by saying that you are sorry to read that your service did not meet your customer&rsquo;s expectation and that you will contact him as soon as possible. Furthermore, it is better to discuss with your customer privately. Your answer will also show to your customers and potential ones that you take your reputation and work to heart. People sometimes complaints directly on places where everyone can see it in order to be answered quickly; therefore, replying to them should be one of your priorities.</p> <p>When you will contact your customer, briefly present yourself, tell him that you have seen his review and then let him speak while taking notes. Try to avoid interrupting him or raising your voice. In order to understand his issue, we suggest you reword the key elements. You can use phrasings like &ldquo;if I have understood correctly, your dissatisfaction regarding my work is... &rdquo; or &ldquo;I understand that this element did not meet your expectations.&rdquo; The issue might have occurred after the submission of your work.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <h3><strong>Be Humble and Find a Solution</strong></h3> <p>Whether it is completely your fault or no, most of the time it is difficult to admit our mistakes; however, at the very least you should apologize (sincerely is better). You probably have already experienced a situation where you were dissatisfied with a service or a product in the past. Thus, use this experience in order to show empathy. Once you have apologized, we suggest you try to find a solution with your customer in order to work things out. Is your product broken? You could suggest to fix it or to send him another one. Is the website or the design you made not what he wanted? You could offer to modify some parts free of charge. Your customers are precious but you do not have to automatically offer a discount or refund, especially if it is a minor thing. Try to make this customer satisfied or at least contented with your efforts.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>In some cases, it might happen that there is no possible agreement between your unhappy customer and you, especially if he is disrespectful. If your customer crosses the line, start by telling him that you want to help him and find a solution. Keep in mind to remain professional and calm. If no agreement is found, it is sometimes better to let go even if you will have to check your social media more closely for a while. You will have done your best you possibly could.</p> <h3><strong>Situation Assessment</strong></h3> <p>The last step of this process is introversion. Since complaints are something you surely want to avoid, take actions to find the cause of the problem encountered to make sure it will not happen again. It could save you a lot of trouble in the future. When everything will be over, take the time to write down what you are proud of regarding the management of this unhappy customer and what you need to improve. Despite there is no identical case, you can learn from this experience.</p> <p></p> <p>In conclusion, we know that it is difficult to manage complaints efficiently; however, with the time you will become better at it. Do not freeze if you see a bad review. Instead, be proactive as you would like someone would do if you met an issue with a service or a product. Remember to know your file before contacting your customer, try to listen, and look for a solution that will please both sides. We are sure that you can do this!</p>

Ariane