Five Steps To Winning Over An Unhappy Customer

No matter how careful you are, something is eventually bound to go wrong with a customer account. How your team responds to a dissatisfied customer can be the difference between lost business and a renewed relationship.

Here are five steps to take to turnaround a bad situation — and to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  • Conduct a thorough and impartial review. Talk to everyone involved to find out what happened. The purpose is not to assign blame, but to gather facts and piece together the sequence of events so you can find out what went wrong and when it happened.
  • Admit mistakes. Even if the client is partially responsible for the issue in dispute, you aren’t going to calm the situation by pointing that out. Explain what happened, and whether or not it’s your company’s fault, admit the mistake and reassure your client that you will do better going forward.
  • This seems obvious, but it’s too often a missed step. A heartfelt apology can often end the confrontation or, at the very least, make the next step a little easier.
  • Take corrective action. Ask this simple question following your apology: “What do you think would be a fair way of correcting the situation?” Just adding the word “fair “can often encourage your customer to take the high road. But even if the suggested restitution exceeds the cost of the error, it’s probably a low price to pay for extending your company’s goodwill and saving the relationship.
  • Put policies and procedures in place to reduce the likelihood of recurrence. It’s often easy to see — in hindsight, of course — where you went wrong. Once passions have cooled and the immediate problem has been remedied, your team should sit down and figure out the systemic changes that should be put in place to reduce the likelihood of recurrence.

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