Unhappy Customer? Use This Three-Step Customer Recovery Process

No matter how great your products are or how well you execute your service and train your employees, it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll disappoint a customer. Fortunately, some of your customers will contact your business to express their disappointment.  Here is where you can gain a loyal customer by acknowledging and taking ownership of the issue.

Use this three-step customer recovery process to help prevent or diffuse an unhappy customer as well as convert and maintain their loyalty.  

Step one:  Empathy

Customer recovery is an extremely delicate progression requiring your best efforts. Don’t allow an incident to deteriorate into a power struggle; you will lose in the end. Keep in mind that your customer always has the ultimate control. Your employees, and even you the owner, will not be able to satisfy an annoyed customer until they know you sincerely care. This is where a genuine empathy statement can be effective.

Step Two: Help

After you have expressed sincere empathy, immediately follow with the power phrase “I can help you with that!” After all, isn’t that what the affected customer really wants; someone who cares and wants to help? With practice, you’ll discover that your empathy statement and your “help” statement contain the most powerful words in your customer service program. Once they feel your sincerity and recognize your willingness to assist, the disappointed customer is more likely to relinquish control. .

Step three: Can-do attitude

The single-most important pitfall to avoid is saying NO.  Use “can do” statements rather than trying to explain or defend the reason why you can’t accommodate your customer’s specific request.  Keep in mind that businesses that allow employees to intercept irate customers with condescending words such as “it’s company policy” escalates the situation. Empower employees with options to make amends with dissatisfied patrons. Either fix the problem or offer alternatives.

With a little empathy, a helpful approach, and a can-do attitude, you can not only escape a confrontation, but also gain a higher level of customer satisfaction since they know your company will do whatever it takes to find a solution.  Additionally, customer recovery provides a positive influence on repurchase intensions and allows greater employee satisfaction.