How to ‘convert’ an angry client into a Cheerleader!

OK, campers, here we are with my third step on “How to resolve customer complaints”.

The first key is my 3-step Emotional Judo method of 1) thanking them, 2) sincerely apologizing and 3) taking “ownership” of the issue.

My second complaint resolution step is a very simple (but often ignored) secret.  Once you have clarified what the problem is, fix it and fix it cheerfully.  (Absolutely NO justifying, complaining and/or scowling allowed!)

So now you have a mollified customer that is at least not going to crucify you to their friends and/or on the Internet!  (This is a good thing!) So now go one step further and create a ‘Turbo Cheerleader’ that will rave about what a great company you are!

After resolving your customer’s concern do ‘something extra”.  Just look around and say, “I’m sorry we had to come back.  Let me make it up to you by …”

Yes, you heard me right. ‘Gift’ the client something they feel is valuable. Instead of just “settling accounts” go over and beyond by doing something extra at no charge.  This free gift doesn’t have to be anything elaborate.  For example …

You can spend a few minutes (remember, your machine is all set up anyway) cleaning a few cushions or the traffic lanes in an adjacent room or her car mats or (you choose).  Many years ago customer service expert Ron Zemke called this peace offering “Symbolic Atonement”– and yes, the concept still works…

Why “symbolic”?  Because in repairing the broken emotional bridge between an unhappy customer and your company it really is ‘the thought that counts’. As in, “we feel your pain”. And yes, a complaining customer feels like they have suffered a good deal of stress and pain!

Interestingly, says To atone is to do something ‘right’ to make up for doing something wrong and comes from a contraction of the words “at” and “one”. So when you ‘atone’ for a customer’s pain it can bring the the two of you into harmony, to ‘be one again’. (And that is exactly where you want to be!)

NOTE:  CLICK HERE for my very best Symbolic Atonement/gift certificate idea! Or company gift cards work well too.

Steve Toburen

PS  So what ‘peace offerings’ do you give to your inconvenienced/unhappy customers?

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