Do You Use The Secret Weapon in Your Marketing Arsenal?
Marketing your business is a far-reaching enterprise and one that doesn’t just end with an email or a networking event. How we and our business are perceived by the outside world is an important factor in building brand awareness, trust and a client base. We all, as business owners, want to offer great value products and services in the most effective and efficient way possible, but with the best will in the world, sometimes it does not pan out like that.
When it all goes a bit Pete Tong
We are all human (although we sometimes pretend otherwise) and mistakes do happen from time to time. How we deal with things when they go wrong is crucial to rescuing the situation – and can even result in turning the person who is complaining into your greatest advocate.
Handling Complaints – Don’t Panic Mr Mainwaring
It’s worth thinking about how you deal with complaints if they should occur and having procedures in place in order for you and your staff to process these complaints in a timely and efficient manner. Job one is to not panic and go into a tailspin – your customers will not necessarily be appeased by your panic as it does not build confidence.
Top 5 tips in avoiding turning a drama into a crisis
- Sorry is not the hardest word – Whatever the complaint and whether it may have more than a little to do with the customer themselves, a timely and well-meant apology goes a long way. Whatever the reasons, if your customer is not completely satisfied an apology is step one in bridge building. If you believe that the customer is at fault – this is not admitting liability – this is being sorry that their experience with you has fallen short in some way.
- What are you going to do about it? – This step is the crucial one for the eventual outcome and this is why you should have complaints procedures in place. Be clear with them about how important their business is to you and how you propose to make good. It is much better to be able to offer your customer a solution, rather than being led by them.
- Timing – We know that a bad service gets vastly more ‘air-time’ than a good one and whether the complaint is large or small, take it seriously and deal with it quickly. Endless damage to your reputation can be caused by procrastination and perceived inefficiency at this point.
- Time for a spot of added value – Is it possible to make a gesture of goodwill? A discount on the next order? A voucher, free downloads or a little extra service at no charge? This is a great way to maintain your relationship with the customer and prove to them your worth. Be warned though – added value goes a long way to repairing the damage to your reputation but you are still running a business – make sure you can absorb what you offer without damage to yourself.
- Follow up – Once the complaint has been sorted out, make sure you follow up with a phone call within a couple of weeks. It’s time to stop apologising but to check everything is ok and to maintain contact.
Steve’s in trouble
It’s About How You Deal With It That Matters
As I said at the beginning, we all make mistakes (Steve, for instance, forgot to bring me a brew this morning – BIG mistake in an otherwise flawless service!). People are understanding of this though, even if they have been inconvenienced. If you deal with any mishaps seriously, quickly and efficiently it has the effect of building trust with your customers. They already know how marvellous you are when everything is going swimmingly and now they know how super-marvellous you are when it doesn’t go so well.
The value of service you provide is central to maintaining return business with your customers – not to mention spreading the good word about you to the people they know!
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