How to satisfy unhappy customers

If you are running a small business of any type, you know how important a happy customer is. On the other hand, you also know how dangerous an unhappy customer can be. An unhappy customer can badmouth you all over town, and they can take away business before you know it. However, the thing to remember is that an unhappy customer does not have to stay an unhappy customer. What can you do to turn the tide if someone is unhappy with your service?

Acknowledge your mistakes
The truth of the matter is that we all make mistakes. We forget to take something into account, we find that we can't do what we promised, or we realize that a job is going to take a lot longer than we thought it would. If you have made a mistake, follow the three As. Apologize for the error, accept responsibility, and tell them how you are going to advance.

Speak with them face to face
The problem is that tone is a serious issue when you are dealing with someone who is feeling angry with you. If you have a lot of interactions via texts or emails, it is very easy for tone to get lost in translation. Instead of letting the conversation get increasingly negative, arrange a face-to-face meeting. This is something that can make a huge difference when it comes to getting something settled.

Responding to bad reviews
Small businesses often live in fear of bad reviews. If you are dealing with a bad review on a review site, find a way to respond to it publicly if you can. Do not get into a name calling scenario, and do not rebut their accusations. Instead, all you need to say is that you are sorry that they are not happy with the service they got, and give them a way to follow up. Leave your email and your name, and make sure that they know that you are willing to make things right. This is a good way to let people know that you are reasonable, and that you stand by your work.

Offer compensation
Sometimes, you cannot do what they want you to do. As a small business owner, you are the expert, and the things that they are asking you to do might be a bit off-the-wall. If you cannot do what they want, make sure to communicate that, so you are not leaving them high and dry.

Follow up
After you have settled with an unhappy customer, do not simply try to forget about them. Unhappy customers are not fun to deal with, but the truth is that they can become repeat customers just like happy ones. After the issue has been resolved, wait a few weeks and send them a card or a message asking them if they need anything else. Most people like it when you think about them, and this can help you reestablish yourself as the person they call.

Take a moment to remember the last unhappy customer you had, and think about how you dealt with them. Consider what you can do to turn things around, and be willing to make a few sacrifices to help ensure their business.