You can’t please all of your customers. As much as you’d like to, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid disappointing them. When this happens, the only thing left for you to do is say sorry to customers. But that can be pretty tricky, especially if you want to sound sincere while also sticking by a decision you made that upset a customer.
Some companies discourage apologies, feeling that admitting any fault could hurt them in potential future litigation. However, some reports actually indicate that patients are less likely to sue doctors when they’re upfront about their mistakes. A genuine apology may be your best option when a customer is unhappy. This doesn’t just apply to the medical field.
That said, most people don’t respond positively to apologies that don’t sound convincing. To ensure you come across as sincere, keep these tips in mind:
Show Genuine Empathy
It’s entirely possible that an upset customer is wrong. Before you craft your apology, make sure you agree that there is a decent reason for you to be sorry in the first place. On the other hand, don’t immediately switch to a defensive mode if you think a customer isn’t portraying the situation honestly.
Instead, during your initial conversations, take the time to fully understand what the customer feels, as well as what you feel. Don’t give in to gut reactions. Find out if you truly are sorry, then apologize. Most importantly, remain as calm and objective as possible, even if the person with whom you’re speaking isn’t.
Make Your Customer Feel Validated
Let your customer know that you understand their perspective, and how frustrated they must feel. That doesn’t mean you should agree with everything that they have to say. It simply means genuinely listening to them, and restating their complaints in a manner that proves you’re truly willing to validate them.
Explain Yourself Clearly
You deserve an opportunity to tell your side of the story. When you do, make sure you’re as clear and detailed as possible. Explain the situation as you understand it. You might actually provide your customer with insights they hadn’t considered.
Either way, you know you weren’t acting maliciously. Your customer might not know that. Give yourself a chance to prove it.
If mistakes were made, admit to them. When taking responsibility, you don’t want to be evasive or defensive. You want your customer to know that you honestly understand where they are coming from. Also make it clear you’re willing to admit when you haven’t performed to their standards. Your company isn’t perfect. Don’t pretend to be.
Commit to Making Changes
An apology isn’t quite enough to fully satisfy your customers. You also need to explain what steps you will take to prevent this type of situation in the future.
Don’t be vague, either. Simply saying that you’ll address these issues so the same mistakes aren’t made again comes across as dismissive. Be specific about how you plan to remedy the problem.
You’ve already come this far in terms of moving the customer through the conversion funnel. When you work hard to reach them from the initial lead generation then nurture them through the point of purchase, it’s important to remain on good terms. This will breed brand loyalty, improve customer satisfaction, and encourage them to spread the good word about your company to others.
If your customer service team can address all five points above, you’re well on your way to transforming a negative experience into one that can actually be beneficial for the company. One extra measure that can help is to have human, non-automated customer support. At NeverBounce, we believe our Customer Success Team is one of the main elements of our business that sets us apart. Our awesome support is available for real-life calls, emails, and live chat to make sure our customers receive the most personalized and sincere assistance, whenever they need us.