How many of you have left a restaurant or failed to make a purchase due to poor service?
According to Vanessa Funches, professor at Auburn University at Montgomery, 78% of us have bailed on a transaction due to poor service.
So how do we make sure our customers aren’t doing the same thing to us? The worst thing you can do is assume you don’t have a problem. For every customer who complains, Funches says 26 others stay silent. Typically businesses only hear from four percent of those who are unhappy. It’s even worse when the customer who is upset has a long term relationship with your company. This relationship now has expectations built into past history and can amplify how they view the failure.
So what can you do?
You need to have a process in place for tracking and recording complaints. Someone needs to be reviewing these on an ongoing basis.
If a customer complains, what should you do? The worst thing you can do is be silent. In today’s digital world, the complainers’ message can spread like wildfire. You need to address the complaint where they do. If they call, you need to call them back. If they post a comment on Facebook, you need to respond there. You can’t address it privately and expect it to go away. Everyone else is watching to see what you do.
If at all possible make the customer part of the solution and try not to view them as the problem. Anger is one of the most contagious emotions. Make sure your response doesn’t escalate the situation. Remember that the customer’s expectation and what they are entitled to are not always the same thing – and that’s ok.
So you’ve talked to the customer and addressed the problem. You’ve reached an agreement. You can breathe a sigh of relief. Not yet! Your work is only partially complete. According to Funches, it takes 12 positive experiences to overcome the 1 negative one.