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Turning Unhappy Customers into Profit

October 12th, 2010

customer-satisfaction-profits.jpgAs you already know, unhappy customers can have many negative effects on your business. Luckily, there are ways to turn unhappy customers into profitable situations if you know what to do.

When a customer complains that they are unhappy with your product or service, you should remember that the customer is always right. At this point, you might be saying to yourself, “no, the customer is NOT always right”. You are correct, but the customer always thinks that they are right, which is what you must remember.

First, you need to diffuse the situation by allowing the customer to vent. Look them in the eye and sincerely listen to their complaint. When they have finished, summarize the complaint back to them, letting them know that you were listening. This will usually calm them down quickly so that you can work out a solution their problem.

Next, analyze the complaint being made. Is it valid? If so, correct it as quickly as possible. Doing so will give the customer complete confidence in your company and they will be happy to do business with you in the future. If your company really messed up, then go a little further by giving them a small gift certificate. Chances are good that they will spend more than the value of the gift certificate, and you get to make a little more money. That was easy, but what do you do when the situation isn’t so easy?

Even when the customer is clearly wrong, you need to decide what is more beneficial to the company: making this customer happy, or sending them home angry and unsatisfied.

Regardless of how wrong a customer may be, the word of how you mistreated them will spread like wild fire. Most likely, they will send a tweet or update their Facebook status before they get out the door. If you can find a way to satisfy them, you avoid the negative word-of-mouth advertising. Also, by finding a way to make them happy, you have a live person who is more than willing to tell everyone how wonderful your company is.

Consumers today are looking for more than a good deal. They also demand good customer service. It is vital to the success of your business that you go above and beyond the norm to make every customer feel that your company is one worthy of their business. The best way to do this is to address every complaint with the attitude that you are willing to do whatever it takes to make them happy. This will result in higher profits.

Consider this example: you sold a widget for $20. The wholesale cost of the widget is $5. A customer comes into your store, and they wish to exchange the widget. They claim that it stopped working. You know that the widget was working when it was sold. What do you do?

If you refuse to exchange the widget, your company gets to keep the $15 profit. This customer will feel that you are being unreasonable. They may never come into your store again. You made $15, but you lost countless profits in future business from this customer.

Suppose you allow the customer to exchange the broken widget for a new one. You still make $10 profit. However, now this customer will be more than happy to confidently shop in your store. They are likely to refer their friends to you, and the potential for more sales in the future is great.

In this situation, you will be perceived as a wonderful person who helped them out. This will earn you a loyal customer. Take advantage of this situation by asking them to refer their friends and family to you. Increase the chances of this happening by giving them several coupons to give to their friends.

Of course every situation has be judged on a case-by-case basis, but more often than not, you are far better to make the customer happy rather than turn them away disappointed. Today, people are more into social networking on the Internet than ever before. Can you afford a negative Twitter or Facebook post? These can be seen by hundreds or even thousands of consumers. On the other hand, a positive posting about a great experience has the potential of sending countless new customers in your direction.

Weigh the consequences when dealing with unhappy customers. Always consider the cost of a replaced widget before making your final decision about customer service. A small investment in customer satisfaction will often result in increased profit.

This article was supplied by M.A. Gallant from Constant Content.

Somewhat related article:

How to Form Sales Support Teams with Customer Service

One Response to “Turning Unhappy Customers into Profit”

  1. comment number 1 by: Eamon Diamond

    Even when the customer is clearly wrong, you need to decide what is more beneficial to the company: making this customer happy, or sending them home angry and unsatisfied.

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