No business runs smoothly all the time. Problems are bound to happen on occasion, whether it’s a product issue, a service failure or a security breach, and how your business responds to those problems is key in managing its reputation and maintaining that all-important customer loyalty. Here are the three things your business must do when handling any problem to restore trust.
It compounds the issue when a customer is already upset about something, and then has to wait for a response. Lengthy response times make your business look unprofessional and give the impression you’re either stalling or ignoring the issue.
To avoid this, implement a standard response time policy that covers every type of communication, including email, live chat, phone calls and social media interactions. Doing so ensures you don’t have any upset customers waiting days for a response.
Keep in mind that responding to a problem isn’t just about responding to the customer. You also want to immediately evaluate what went wrong and see if there’s something you need to fix to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.
Take Full Responsibility
Even if the problem isn’t entirely your business’ fault, resist the temptation to play the blame game. Pinning the issue on the delivery company or your product supplier isn’t going to make the customer any happier that his order failed to arrive on time. It’s just going to look like you’re passing the buck and throwing one of your partners under the bus.
The most effective way to respond to customer problems is to genuinely apologize and take full responsibility for what happened. If the customer wants details on what went wrong, be transparent about it.
It may seem like being transparent and not blaming anyone else could be contradictory pieces of advice if the problem was caused by a partner of yours. You can explain why a problem occurred, while also clearly stating your business takes full responsibility for it.
When your business has done something wrong, the fair thing to do is offer a tangible form of compensation to make the customer whole. First, you want to handle the current issue. For example, if the customer wasn’t satisfied with a product, you could offer a replacement item or a refund.
It’s also wise to offer an incentive for the customer to come back, such as a discount code or a gift card. The most difficult people to sell to are those who haven’t used your business before, which is why you want to do everything possible to bring customers back after a problem and get another chance to earn their trust.
Occasionally, you may come across a customer who isn’t happy with any of your compensation ideas. One way to solve this is to simply ask the customer what you can do for him. If his request is reasonable, you have your solution.
Dealing with problems isn’t pleasant, but it’s something you need to be ready for when running a business. With the right response plan, you can resolve problems with minimal drama and convince customers to keep using your business.