Going to the dentist isn’t fun – especially for a kid. That’s why we go to a place that specializes in treating kids. I’m sure you can anticipate where I’m going with this. Our most recent experience was terrible (not kid friendly). The hygienist ridiculed our son for “squirming”, having a sensitive gag reflex and making him late for her next appointment. Then she topped it off with an accusation that he drinks too much sugary drinks (he only drinks water). She did this multiple times with him while in front of other children and again in front of a lobby filled with parents and even more children! My son was visibly upset but tried to brush it off in the car saying that the hygienist clearly didn’t live up to the name of the company — a name that includes “Kids” in it. I called the office manager and she apologized profusely. She asked me what she could do to make it up to me. I thought about it a bit – it’s not like she can give me a free meal or a glass of wine or an additional service. So, I simply asked her to look my son in the eye, shake his hand, apologize to him and let him know that she had it all taken care of. Well she did that and more. Later that afternoon she called and spoke to my son – apologizing to him for what happened. And, she sent an editable arrangement with a “sorry” balloon thanking us for giving her and her firm a second chance. My son and I walked away from a terrible experience feeling as though she had gone the extra mile to win us back.
Another example of a customer experience that could have gone very wrong happened during a project that I was working on for my company. I had hired a new person to manage a mission critical project for my business. This new person replaced a former team member who was let go because he couldn’t do the job. The project with this new support person was going a bit sideways but it was truly not his fault. I kept sending him messages expressing my frustration and throughout the entire scenario he responded by validating my concern, letting me know that he had my best interest in mind and that I had to trust him. His focused and caring approach calmed me, keeping me and the project on track.
My take away from these types of experiences is always the same. We all make mistakes in business, projects can go sideways and customer service at times can falter. There are ways to wonderfully manage and guide a frustrated customer to a positive result. How we manage the negative experience is what will make or break the relationship. Consider:
- Acknowledging your customer’s complaint.
- Encouraging you customer to talk about their experience and feelings.
- Thanking your customer for bringing the matter to your attention and validate his/her feelings of concern.
- Providing next steps to resolve your customer’s complaint.
- Implementing the plan.
- Following up.
Do you have an approach that you like to use with your customers? We would love for you to share your thoughts with us here. And, if you need help assessing and maximizing client satisfaction contact us! We will help.