One truth exists in every business: there will always be a customer who is dissatisfied with something about your product or service. Truth be told, there are some people who will never be satisfied no matter how well a product or service meets their expectations. Yet without customers, including the always-dissatisfied ones, you would not have a business.
There Is A Difference
Despite the fact that some customers will be difficult, there are times when the customer has a legitimate complaint which needs to be addressed because the company made an error. Any error, large or small, warrants a complaint because a customer has the right to expect to get what he or she bought. If the error is one in which a customer was not treated properly by a sales or customer service representative, the attitude must be one of the customer is always right – even when they are wrong.
The all-important first step is the mea culpa – admitting a mistake was made. This will go a long way in appeasing the customer and moving forward to resolving the problem. One of the biggest concerns for a business owner is how much it will cost to fix the problem. That is not the customer’s concern and should not be an issue during any point in the conversation.
Excuses Not Welcome
Moving forward is important too, and often movement in that direction gets stalled because the company begins to make excuses as to why there is a problem. Two things go through the mind of the customer when an excuse is offered. The first is that the excuse is an admission of guilt. The second is that the customer does not really care about why it happened. The only the parts they care about are that a mistake was made and that they expect restitution.
Admitting the problem is the company’s fault shows the customer that they are dealing with a company that is responsive and accountable. Most people prefer doing business with a place with which they can be assured their voices will be heard and the people who run the business stand behind their work. Making excuses will likely never buy you this kind of goodwill.
Be Willing To Take A Loss
Being open to taking a loss on a product for the purpose of providing a higher-quality service and resolving a customer complaint leaves you many options. This applies only to major mistakes such as significant design flaws or safety issues. Just because you can meet the lowest regulatory standard of safety or quality does not mean you should. Consider the number of Toyota automobiles that received negative press about their safety over the last few years. Whether they were aware of the problems or not, the connection between Toyota and safety will be a negative one in the minds of many potential consumers for some time. Ask yourself if losing current and future sales because the known issue was ignored for the sake of short-term profit is the best way to do business.
The mindset of dealing with mistakes is primarily about a long-term perspective of business. Establishing a growing number of customers who trust and believe in your brand takes time. A short-term loss can be converted into a long term gain if handled properly. Businesses owe their profitability to customers. Making sure their needs are met and that their satisfaction is a priority will keep them coming back.