Over at the aptly named Return Customer, in a post titled How To Fight With Customers When They Leave, Joe posts about a company who royally screwed up when he called to terminate his service. As I read it, I thought it could be turned into a “worst practice” to teach small businesses how not to act.
With the economy going south, businesses cannot afford to lose customers. Train your employees to follow these three steps in order to prevent losing dissatisfied customers like Joe.
Step One: Listen with the intent to understand, not argue
When a customer calls you to complain or to terminate service, don’t argue. Stay calm, show your concern and keep your emotions on a professional not personal level. Do NOT interrupt the customer, other than to make noises that show you are still listening. If the two of you are standing in the same room, keep your body language relaxed and your attention solely on the customer. Apologize.
Step Two: Ask This Question
Noted customer service expert T. Scott Gross says the most important question you can ask at this stage is, “What can we do to make this right with you?” Again, listen to understand, don’t argue. Evaluate the customer’s answer. Can you fulfill their request? Can you meet them halfway? Is there something else you can do for them, if you can’t meet their need?
Step Three: Lagniappe
Lagniappe is a word popular in parts of
You won’t be able to retain every dissatisfied customer, but even some of those who walk away will be mollified enough that they won’t start spreading negative word of mouth about you. Following these steps will increase your customer retention, and in this economic climate, for many businesses, every customer counts.