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Businesses can turn angry customers into loyal customers

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Every small-business owner faces disgruntled customers who are not satisfied with a business transaction. Small-business owners commonly mishandle customer service problems because they don't want to spend the money to train employees to handle angry customers, according to www.washingtonpost.com.

John Tschohl, a customer service consultant and author of best-selling books regarding customer service, offers six steps to help you diffuse a situation with a disgruntled customer and potentially gain a loyal customer.
  1. Listen carefully. When handling a screaming customer, many business owners ignore the complaints or don't actually listen. It is important not only to listen but to demonstrate you are listening by responding with "OK," "I understand," etc.
  2. Instead of placing blame, apologize. A debate over which party is to blame is not the goal of the conversation. Many business owners don’t want to admit they were at fault by apologizing, but admitting an error and apologizing for the inconvenience can be highly effective.
  3. Be empathetic. Show you understand why they are frustrated by the situation and care about how they feel. For example, you can calm a customer by saying something like: "I understand how angry you must be that the service was not provided as expected. I would be angry, too."
  4. Ask specific questions. Miscommunication is the enemy, so be sure you know exactly what the problem is before you try to solve it. Ask customers for specific details and, at the end of the conversation, review the problems they mentioned.
  5. Offer alternatives. Many companies could offer things of high value and low cost to help rectify mistakes but often choose not to. Try to offer several choices to customers when proposing a solution, allowing them to choose what they think is the best remedy.
  6. Solve the problem quickly. When you have come to an agreement with a customer, be sure to follow through on your part of the deal quickly and correctly.
With these tips, your company will be able to quickly solve problems with disgruntled customers and can gain a loyal customer base.


2/1/2012

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