It should come as no surprise that avoiding complaints from your clients may affect your company’s reputation and business. Research shows that as many as 66% of disgruntled clients will most likely choose not to work with you again if they purchased a faulty solution or experienced bad service.
Here are seven ways to avoid losing clients — and save your brand’s reputation.
You might also like: 6 Questions to Help You Gauge Client Fit
Show that you care
Listen to what your client has to say to determine the problem and offer a quick resolution. It's important to stay professional and avoid getting emotional, but it's equally important to show your human side and demonstrate that the client is not just another number for you.
Just in case you need numbers to actually care: A 2014 study suggests that a completely satisfied client contributes 14 times as much revenue as a somewhat dissatisfied one.
Throw away template answers
You should take a one-on-one approach for every aspect of your communication with your client. Generic copy-paste emails won’t cut it. Your voice and professional opinions need to be heard and, most importantly, you need to match them to your client's situation and to the solution you are providing. Don't make jokes when they're very upset.
When dealing with a client issue, you should always stick to company's guidelines. Don't make the mistake, however, of repeating the same official answer again and again. Show your client a personalized approach and try to put yourself in your clients's shoes before you answer. Research suggests that more than 55% of your clients will be willing to pay more for better client service. And better means more individualized and personalized attention.
Research suggests that more than 55% of your clients will be willing to pay more for better client service. [Click to Tweet]
Let’s say you are limited in terms of your budget or resources, and the solution your client is looking for is simply out of your reach. Don’t just dump the ice-cold shower of rejection on your client. Instead, try and think of other possibilities based on what you already know about his or her needs. Can you provide a cheaper version of the solution? Or do you see a completely different way of achieving exactly the same results? Don’t hide behind generic responses; get down to the gritty business of finding a common ground.
You might also like: How Building Customer Relationships Will Help You Create a Million Dollar Business
Avoid lengthy discussions
Try to focus on facts and don't get yourself dragged into disputes over who's right and what's right.
Proving your point will not get you any extra client love. Your clients – even those most upset – expect to be listened to, encouraged that their issue will be taken care of, and offered a resolution.
In a typical business, 42% of client service agents are unable to efficiently resolve customer issues due to disconnected systems, archaic user interfaces and multiple applications. Don’t close yourself off in a golden cage of old structures. Take the road less travelled.
Client-provider relationships provide the most long-term mutual benefit. This goes hand in hand with lengthy dialogue between both parties about details and particulars . However, you mustn’t lose focus of what is important — results. Don’t get hung up on details; stop fixating on your frustration of the process. Think big picture from start to finish.
Offer a fast and effective solution
Unhappy clients will keep contacting you until you resolve their problem and make sure that help is coming. It's important for you to offer quick and reliable assistance so that you stay in charge. At the same time, you need to be realistic and not over-promise — in most cases, you will not be able to offer every client a free reimbursement or immediately return their money.
2012 research indicates that 33% of clients would recommend a brand that provides a quick response, even if that response is ineffective. This speaks volumes about the need of time-efficient response to your client’s needs.
As long as you stick to the facts, you will gain clients' gratitude for responsibly handling their issues. You already have the skill set and experience to make the best possible short-term solution in a short amount of time — just don’t beat around the bush. Be honest with your client about their options.
Don't let the issue escalate
Finding a solution may take some consultations and follow-up, but remember that in the world we live in today, clients (especially those disgruntled ones) count on fast resolution. If they don't get it, they'll go on Facebook or Twitter to voice their frustration. Don't ignore any complaint; deliver what you promised and don't let the issue escalate to the point where it causes your company a loss of reputation.
Nowadays, your client is twice as likely to post a negative review about your client relationship as opposed to a positive one, and they are four times more likely to switch to the competition if they are dissatisfied with the service.
Your client is twice as likely to post a negative review about your client relationship as opposed to a positive one. [Click to Tweet]
This is not to say you have to seal any issue that might have presented itself and never speak of it in public. When it comes to issue resolution, think fast and act faster. Communication on internal channels is your friend, but don’t be afraid to give a creative apology if your client has been damaged by the issue. Your client relationship is not a show of strength, it is about open two-way communication.
Train your staff so they can do their job right
This one is well-meant advice for those of you who employ more than just yourself in your client relationships. Your client service personnel are always out there on the battlefield, handling debates with unhappy clients and trying to put out fires. Make sure they have all the support they need to assist and support others.
Share with them the company's values and guidelines so that they are never surprised by a question from a client; collect feedback from clients and try to improve your products and services as much as possible; show your staff what is doable and what is not doable when handling complaints; invest in brainstorming and training sessions so that they can provide top quality service. Don't be shy to include new market solutions that will save them time and effort.
Web chat is rising in popularity. According to a 2014 study, 79% of respondents preferred to use it in order to get their questions answered quickly, and 51% respondents indicated that they appreciate the possibility of multitasking while resolving an issue.
Minimize negative reviews
This 2013 study suggests that 86% of clients are influenced by negative online reviews of a product or service. Considering the fact that it takes 12 positive client experiences to make up for one bad one, you really shouldn't take negative reviews lightly.
86% of clients are influenced by negative online reviews of a product or service. [Click to Tweet]
Negative online reviews can be very costly for your business. Show your clients you are ready to listen to their complaints before they go and rage about your service on social media. Resolve their problem fast and effectively by providing client service by phone, mail or by a state-of-the-art online tool for complaint management and resolution, such as Youstice. Your clients will reward you by staying with you — instead of choosing a rival service provider.
You might also like: The Value of Saying No to Potential Clients