As a business owner or senior salesperson, your belief is that every customer counts and should be treated with equal respect.
This is, in part, because we all know that our smallest but angriest customers could turn into our worst nightmares if we aren’t careful. Frustrated customers have the option to take to forums and social media and share the bad experience they’ve had with your business.
Here, we provide some tips on remedying a damaged customer-salesperson relationship if the relationship should, in fact, take such a turn.
Don’t wait. Don’t give your customer some time to cool off. Talk to them immediately about the issue at hand and nip it in the bud before the customer does things like spread negative rumours about you, or starts to post things in online forums, which can be damaging to your online reputation.
Don’t argue with your customer if you can avoid it but simply listen with open ears to their concerns. Show your human side and your nice side. Being nice to people can go a long way.
Apologise sincerely. Few things go further in life and in work than a heartfelt apology. If you know you are in the wrong, the first thing to do is to call and apologise - the right thing to do is to try to meet in person for lunch or coffee to simply talk honestly about what happened and to promise that you’ll do your best not to allow it to happen again. Trust is critically important in a customer-salesperson relationship and, proactively taking accountability for what happened, you’ll be one step further along the process of regaining your customer’s trust.
Offer special pricing. Maybe you don’t need as much of that commission you were going to take if you have impacted the relationship so negatively. And, if you own the business, the margin lost isn’t worth quibbling over if the goal is in keeping a lifetime customer and preventing the worst case scenario of having them potentially say damaging things about you to others. Offer special discounted pricing for your customer for a set period of time to show them how sorry you are.
Replace the product or service for free. If the customer’s product was damaged, faulty, or otherwise unacceptable to the customer, consider offering a new version of that product for free. You could convert that customer from being a never again to a lifetime customer because of this kind of treatment. It’s a small price to pay for long-term customer retention.
In business, the age-old principle that the customer is always right still applies. It is well worth heeding these words of wisdom when a relationship with your customer has potentially gone sour. Do everything you can to make them feel ‘right’ and to make them feel as though you are taking full responsibility for the actions that so frustrated them. Accountability goes a long way in repairing a relationship and restoring trust in a business setting.