9 Ways to Deal with Unhappy Customers

They say your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. But how do you turn disgruntled buyers into raving fans?

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Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. Eighty-one percent (81%) of companies with strong capabilities and competencies for delivering customer experience excellence are outperforming their competition (Source: Peppers & Rogers Group, 2009 Customer Experience Maturity Monitor).

But the question remains, how do you deal with dissatisfied customers in the short-term and deliver on long-term customer experience? We asked nine entrepreneurs to delve into their tactics on how to turn unhappy customers into raving fans.

1. Don’t shy away from problems.

“Get out in front of it. This is a great opportunity to turn a dissatisfied customer into a life-long customer and raving fan. After you have listened to the problem, without interruptions or opinions, repeat it back to them so they know you were listening. Finally, adjust accordingly within the guidelines and integrity of your company.”

– Joseph B. Ash, Owner and Master Instructor at BAEPLEX Family Martial Arts Center

2. Be quick and efficient.

“Listen to [customer] concerns and address them as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Offer refunds, replacements or suggest new products or services when it makes sense. You can’t always please everyone, but addressing the issue in a timely manner is a must.”

– Brian Taylor, Founder and President of Kernel Season’s, @kernelseasons

3. Maintain great customer service.

“The best way to deal with dissatisfied customers is to knock their socks off with great customer service. If we have a customer who isn’t completely happy with their tour, we give them an immediate refund as well as a credit for a future tour, in the hopes to win the customer back. By doing this, we often turn dissatisfied customers into our most avid advocates.”

– Avi Millman, Co-Founder of Stray Boots, @avimillman

4. Really listen to customers.

“Keep in mind that most customers don’t complain; they just walk away. If someone is dissatisfied and he or she lets you know about it, other people have probably had the same issue, so take the time to listen to the problem.”

– Chris Brown, CEO and Co-Founder of MarketCulture, @marketculture

5. Don’t take a defensive stance.

“It’s important to start from a place of empathy instead of taking negative feedback as a personal attack. Sometimes it is one really simple, easy-to-change thing about the project that triggers an emotional reaction from the client. Sometimes the client just needs for you to connect the dots or is just having a bad day, so don’t take anything personally.”

– Gigi Griffis, Founder of Content for Do-Gooders, @gigigriffis

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