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Don’t let a disgruntled customer spoil your Brand: how to Communicate Effectively with an Unsatisfied Customer

Written by Vivek Jaiswal | Co-founder, Customer Guru

Leave a customer unhappy, and he/she shall keep 10 other customers from coming to you

“News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience.” White House Office of Consumer Affairs

It is easier than ever for people to share their feedback about a service experience through social media. And the impact of negative customer review has never been more prominent – 86% of people won’t purchase from a business which has negative online reviews. (Dimensional Research). These are some staggering stats that suggest that businesses should focus on improving customer experience. It is also clear that businesses should adopt an omni-channel customer service strategy, but it is critical that they have a proper plan on how to communicate with an unsatisfied customer. Here are a few simple steps to start with:

1. Listen actively

Customers just hate it when they feel that they have not been heard. Do not send pre-drafted twitter/email/telephone responses that do not fit the problem pointed by a customer, it will surely annoy the customer even more.Ensure that the customer is heard, through whatever channel they are communicating, and a tailored solution that fits the customers concern is offered. Listening attentively is 60% of good communication and the customer is bound to feel better when they get an assurance that they have been heard.

2. Apologise sincerely

A sincere apology can win over a customer like magic. When the apology is given just for the sake of it, it further aggravates the anger. Coaching the frontline employees to empathise with the customers’ pain – however unrealistic or unreasonable – is important. Half the battle is won just by acknowledging the concern.

3. Don’t be biased

There are customers who are difficult to please and are eager to complain. Dealing with such customers is definitely challenging. But getting biased that such customers are just too hard to please will never help you win over them. Instead focus on improving your service level to such customers expectation because if you could win their heart, you will earn lifelong rewards too! As much as such customers whine, they are equally candid in sharing a great experience and recommending your business to others.

4. Be prompt and polite

No matter what, get behind every unsatisfied customer and resolve their concerns. If their concern cannot be resolved, be prompt and polite to communicate that too. Communicating regularly while the problem is being worked upon is also critical, it helps set the right expectation. But do not over do it, ultimately it is most important to deliver.

Communicating effectively with disgruntled customers is the first step to alleviating their pain. It is important that organisations build an effective communication plan and train their social media managers, marketers, and support team on how to handle customer communication – especially with unhappy customers. What are some of the best practices your organisation developed around customer communication? Please share in comments below.

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