How to Turn Unhappy Customers into Valuable Resources

An unhappy customer can become your biggest asset, if you know what to do.

09/13/2017

How to Turn Unhappy Customers into Valuable Resources

Every business has had to deal with an unhappy customer at some point in time. How you resolve the issue can make or break your business.
 

Listen, listen, listen

It may seem obvious, but as the business owner (or even a manager or entry-level employee), listening to the customer’s complaint and point of view is imperative.
 
For one, listening first and reacting later can help you to better understand the problem from the customer’s perspective. This, in turn, will help you better solve the issue—and you may even learn something about your business that you overlooked, explains an article in Inc.com by Young Entrepreneur Council staff.
 
It’s also far more beneficial to be empathetic and agreeable to the customer’s point of view. Not only will they lead you to the solution that will make them happy, but you may also discover solutions to further streamline your customer service and products and prevent a similar situation from recurring, adds the Young Entrepreneur Council.
 
You also want to show the customer you are on their side and that you are willing to go the extra mile. This can help keep the customer from taking their business elsewhere, and it isn’t hard to do. Many customers feel frustrated receiving responses that seem to be nothing more than automatically generated emails. You can show you care about their individual issue by ensuring your communications are personalized in some way—even if they are based off of a standard response template. Furthermore, making sure that customers have the ability to speak to a person instead of just relying on email can go a long way toward proving your good intentions and making customers happy.
 
“Great customer service can turn unhappy customers into brand advocates; poor service does exactly the opposite,” concludes Founder/CEO of SELECT Carlo Cisco in the Inc.com article.
 

Use the situation to improve your business

Never underestimate the information you can glean from an unhappy customer.
 
“Raw feedback from a dissatisfied customer is the unfiltered truth that no one in your organization is going to give you,” explains founder of WhichVoip.com Andy Forgrieve in a Forbes article. “Outsider input is too valuable to ignore as ‘crackpot’ or ‘ignorant’.”
 
Furthermore, depending on the problem at hand, you could turn the situation into fuel for a marketing campaign. For example, unhappy customers within the travel industry often complain based on emotional reasons. Listening to the specific emotions that they value most can provide key insights on how to market that travel product for maximum emotional impact in the future, explains Forbes contributor Steve Olenski.
 
Under this same vein of thought, an unhappy customer can provide any business with true, down and dirty insight into their customer’s wants, likes and needs. This will help you better market your product or service in ways that effectively tap their emotions and meet their needs.
 
“Marketing is all about making believers out of nonbelievers, and making friends out of enemies. When you see things the customer’s way it’s easy to understand their complaint. Sympathize, apologize, and make it right—and you’ve got a loyal customer for life,” says marketing VP at Secured Loan Expert Franchesca Hughes in the same Forbes article.
 
Lastly, working to resolve an issue with your unhappy customer also teaches your staff the habit of actively soliciting for feedback in the future. Rather than waiting for the next complaint to roll in, you and your employees can proactively reach out to your customers and make adjustments in your business to continue to improve and thrive.
 
In the end, an unhappy customer can benefit your business more than a happy one, as long as you know how to handle the situation and learn from it.

Published by North Shore Bank. Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

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