Who has ever had an unhappy customer? Until recently, I never really gave thought to an unhappy customer because I have always worked so hard to wow those I work with.
Along the way, things happen, life happens and while you do your best to keep everyone happy, there will be a day that you will encounter an unhappy customer.
I spent 10 years in retail and followed that up with another 12 years in corporate marketing, there are a few things I learned along the way:
1. Listen to the customer FIRST.
Without thoughts running in the back of your head about groceries, why they are wrong and how you don't really want to be dealing with this issue right now. Stop, listen fully to what your customer has to say. In the unhappy one sided exchange, you may just learn a little more than you expected (like how the customer was affected by something unrelated from months before or what a third-party source relayed to them). Whatever the conversation, the best starting point is a genuine open mind to their concerns and an unobstructed comprehension of the issue.
2. Communicate clearly
Whether your client chooses the discussion via social media (ouch), email or over a cup of coffee. Pause, think about what you really want to communicate and make it clear with compassion. Don't say words just to fill up the silence, choose your words, it will keep you a lot more professional and grant your client the respect they deserve, especially if you have had a long term relationship with them.
If you are meeting a client in person to discus the issue, be sure to choose the right environment, whether your office, their office (preferred) or a neutral location (challenging).
3. Ask questions
How can the situation be resolved to their satisfaction? (perhaps their demands are unreasonable) How can a compromise be reached. Either way, take the time to ask the questions that let your client know you are exploring the situation to find an amicable resolution.