How to Recover From a Customer Service Fiasco
At some point or another, the majority of companies will have to deal with a disappointed customer. The internet has given disgruntled customers an easy means of blasting companies in public for a less than satisfactory service or product. The message from one unhappy customer can quickly spread around the globe in the blink of an eye.
Suddenly one isolated customer service failure can turn into a fiasco. Knowing how to recover from such a situation is essential for all companies.
The Fiasco Origins
The three main social sites that people go to on a daily basis to vent are Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. These main portals give an open platform for angry customers to let the world know how they feel about your service. Complaints can range from mild annoyance to more intense disappointment.
A step above these general social media networks are complaint and consumer organization sites such as RipOffReport.com and BBB.com. Some disgruntled customers might setup or participate in more specifically targeted anti-corporation sites like starbucked.com.
Why Customers Go Public
Usually someone complaining online has been disappointed by the company on multiple occasions, which is why they eventual resort to publicly complaining.
Here is a typical scenario. A product or service isn’t what the customer expected. Then the customer encounters a rude and unhelpful employee, or discovers a hidden fee. They attempt to resolve the issue, but the end result is more disappointed. Now the customer feels twice violated and sees sharing his experience online as the best course of action. This has been found to be the case in 96% of online complaints. Only 4% of public complaints were as a result of a one off service failure.
How to Recover
A methodical approach is the best way of handling customers complains. There are three key steps to a well planned recovery attempt.
1. Time the response carefully.
2. Take into account the type of customer, by examining prior relationship
3. Thoughtfully select the content of the apology message
The internet has brought with it some higher expectations. Immediacy is very important to a successful complaint recovery. A big fiasco can be completely avoided, by having a quick response. These days companies often designate employees or hire outside help to search the web for customer complaints and act quickly to control the damage.
A Tailored Response
The exact response to a complaint will defer based on the type of customer. A steady customer has an existing relationship with the company and so admission of the mistake is often more important than the actual resolution. Casual customers have to be handled differently. Usually they are not interested in affirming their relationship, but simply want financial repayment for the wrongdoing.
To fully address the situation and help undo the damage done, an appropriate apology should:
• Give a good reason for the failure
• Be truthful and sincere
• Not divert the blame elsewhere
• Offer a fair solution
By following these steps, a company can turn a potential fiasco, into a satisfied customer.