Handling Unhappy Customers

June 30, 2022

What do you do when you have an unhappy customer?

No one likes an unhappy customer.

Sometimes conversations get emotional; maybe you made a colossal mistake or dropped the ball. At this moment, it’s probably the most stressful thing you’re dealing with.

So what do you do when a customer is unhappy? Well, this is when you start to learn character and integrity. You just have to do the only thing you can do, which is: make it right.

After the dust has settled and the customer is satisfied – or at least as satisfied as they can be – there is one more critical step; you need to learn from that mistake. You need to understand what made the customer so unhappy. Were expectations not met? Was performance poor? Did you do something wrong, or was it simply on them?

This will prevent you from having that uncomfortable mistake again and ensure that you grow as a company and entrepreneur.

These are the inevitable lessons – you’re not perfect. It will happen again.

The reality of growing a business is that success is measured by the number of mistakes, mess-ups, and unhappy customers you bounce back from.

And, we’ve had many. That’s how we got where we are today, and that’s precisely how you will too.

Not just having unhappy customers. But learning from them.

When employees do something wrong at their job, they usually get put on performance plans or sometimes get fired.

What’s the lesson learned?

Hustle – try to get a new job, internalize the unhappy customer, don’t make that mistake again.

Learning from your mistakes as an entrepreneur can save your business. Even more, it’s also a great way to find areas for improvement that may actually reap greater rewards and put you ahead of your nearest competitors.

Why listening to your customers is essential.

We mean really listening.

The painful kind where you shut up, drop the ego and just hear what they’re telling you.

Sometimes customers just have bad days and need to vent; other times (and these are the special moments), you have a customer who actually cares. They’re sharing feedback with you because they know it will help you.

This is an actual ego check.

What is this?

It’s free Consulting.

You’re having someone tell you precisely what’s wrong with your business. Consultants might take tens of thousands of billable hours to distill down what’s wrong with your company what a customer could say in a simple phone call.

If you see this as free consulting, then you’ll actually seek the input, good or bad. Obviously, you can’t take all of the feedback; again, sometimes people are just angry and despotic and want something to yell at. You’ll begin to learn the difference.

It’s more than just listening.

Like we said before, it’s not just listening to the unhappy customer. It’s about the moments after the dust has settled, the problems have been solved, and you’re ready to reflect inwardly about what happened and what you can do.

 So here’s an action plan:

  1. Write down the root cause of what contributed to their unhappiness. look at what you did or how you did it and ask yourself: “Was there a part of this process that meant that other parts of the process failed?”
  2. Write down exactly what they said to you. If you can try to record the conversations with unhappy customers, these are the most painful but best ways to learn.
  3. Try to tie back their core unhappiness with a specific part of your product or service that they are frustrated with. And the next time you have an unhappy customer asked him specifically what was it about your product or service that made them so unhappy.
  4. Now create a plan with the steps you will take to prevent that situation from happening again.
  5. Write down a list of questions that you’ll ask the next unhappy customer. These should be specific and consistent from conversation to conversation – that way, you can turn these moments into data collection opportunities.

Write everything down, put it in a knowledge base.

Save it somewhere.

Because the reality is that this document is going to grow, just like you.


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