Every company has unhappy customers. Businesses and companies encounter dissatisfied customers every now and then. It is close to impossible to keep all the customers happy at once but it is still possible to address the issues of dissatisfied customers to mitigate losses. Satisfied customers spread positive words about a company; they stick to the company, buy more often and are loyal. As a result, they increase the revenues of the company. On the other hand, dissatisfied consumers are likely to tell twice as many people about their poor experiences with a brand compared to the odds against satisfied customers sharing their positive experiences. 85% people share customer most experience stories in person, this makes companies vulnerable to a negative perception. With the advent of social media, people’s views spread more rapidly,usually like wildfire and this puts companies at a risk as well. These statistics make it important for the companies to deal with dissatisfied customers, for they directly affect a company’s revenues as well as indirectly affect its overall perception. Statistics reveal that nine out of ten times, customers continue buying even after a slip-up. But this happens only if the company fixes the situation at the first instance of dissatisfaction. Therefore, not much is lost if a company finds that a share of its customers are not satisfied. Great customer service can turn unhappy customers into brand advocates while poor service can do exactly the opposite. After identifying the dissatisfied customers, the companies should contact them, redress the issue and make long term changes in their policies. Only then can they turn dissatisfied customers into satisfied customers.

How to Respond to Dissatisfied Customers

1. Identification

Before addressing unhappy customers, the authorities have to identify them. They can do so with the help of customer satisfaction surveys or any other indicator of customer satisfaction. The company should carefully select the indicator that is the most suitable for its product or services provided by them.

2. Give Personalized Attention

As far as possible, the concerned authority must give customers personalized attention so that they feel important and have a positive experience while getting their issues resolved. An automated e-mail might be too generic for the customer, especially if he/she is a regular one. To give a more personalized touch, they can call the dissatisfied customers. Customer might be more relaxed and open to a conversation on call. He or she might be appreciative of this gesture. For a deeper impact, a higher executive can call the customer. A customer might get blown away, while a detractor can be won back.

3. Listen, Actively

Instead of being defensive/offensive, the person addressing the dissatisfied customer must listen actively to him/her. It is more important to fully understand the problem and seeing the customer's point of view before defending one’s own company. After listening to them, it becomes a lot easier to solve their problem. Simply listening to them helps in resolving the issue and it makes customers happy, which is gratifying.

4. Talk to customers and Assess their Expectations

The company should try to talk to the customers and ask them about the origin of their discontent. Near the cause of the customer's dissatisfaction lies his/her real expectations. Thus, talking to dissatisfied customers lets the company access their customers’ expectations. Then it is up to the company to evaluate act on it and improve their customers’ experience. The authorities can also directly ask them what they expect or why are they unhappy. This will prevent any communication issues. They themselves might give solutions that can fix a problem. Many a times companies don’t even realize they have a problem or that something can annoy a customer.

5. Acknowledge the Customers Point of View

Whether the reason for dissatisfaction is valid or not, acknowledging the customer’s unhappiness makes them happy. Things get contentious when the companies don’t acknowledge their mistake and it infuriates the customers beyond repair. This is the kind of customers that act as the bad publicists. Companies should not make this mistake at any cost.

6. Apologize

After acknowledging the customers’ cause of grievance, the concerned authorities must apologize. This is not to satisfy the customer’s ego, but to make the customer stay, most of all to avoid any toxic relationship with the customer. It can also delay any serious consumer forum litigation. The time bought can be used to find a solution and make amendments before any serious damage is made.

7. Find A Solution

Identifying unhappy customers and apologizing to them is not enough, the company needs to offer a solution as well. As mentioned above, the authorities can ask the customers to give suggestions. Or they can put forward their own solutions to the problem. In most cases, that’s all the customer is looking for and it alone may result in providing them some degree of satisfaction. A clear validation of the customer's concern and a corrective plan usually fixes the issue. And finally,

8. Act On It

The authorities should not just pretend to make amends by saying the same. They should act on it for real to avoid such a situation in the future. These feedbacks can be used to improve business, train employees, make future policies and implement it and many other strategic purposes. They also update the concerned companies with the current trends and thus the consumer’s needs. The employees must remember that not every customer can be a happy customer. Nor can they convert every dissatisfied customer into a satisfied one. And no matter how great a customer service a company has, some customers cannot be won over. But these facts should not be used to abandon unhappy customer in early stages of reprisal. The company must go to its farthest limits for its customers because that is the kind of behaviour that the customers expect and that is the kind of behaviour that can win back dissatisfied customers. The ‘economies of customer satisfaction’ has been discussed in length earlier in this article. The vice versa is also applicable, and it should be enough for companies to respond appropriately to dissatisfied customers.

Posted in Analytics, Customer Feedback, Customer Satisfaction, Surveys

Tagged customer feedback, customer feedback online, customer feedback online survey, customer pulse, customer relationship, customer retention, customer satisfaction, dissatisfied customers