Five Best Practices for Repairing Your Customer Relationship (Pt 2)
There are times, despite your best efforts, things may go wrong, impacting customer satisfaction. When conflict or uncomfortable situations arise, act swiftly to reduce tension and begin repairing your customer relationship using these best practices:
- Apologize. Regardless of who caused the issue step up and offer an apology. Acknowledge any oversights or mistakes, and focus on remediating the issue and repairing the relationship.
- Listen. Listen, listen, and listen. Listening builds trust, reduces tension, and will make your customer feel valued.
- Communicate. Customers do not want to feel like they are in the dark. It’s your job to make sure lines of communication are open and remain open. Respond by repeating their concerns. This ensures clarity and shared expectations.
- Invite, don’t ignite. Choose the right words, especially when communicating through email. Avoid emotionally charged words and defensive statements — these will not produce positive outcomes and could further damage the relationship. Invite your customer to dialogue and strengthen your relationship.
- Deliver beyond expectations. Find a solution, deliver it, and follow up to ensure the situation has been resolved and your customer is happy with the results.
Keeping a record of your relationship dynamics – including cause and effect of tension – can help you to see emerging patterns and take steps to mitigate future issues. We can’t control every situation, but we can use these lessons learned to our benefit to repair relationships. Ultimately, the importance of customer satisfaction cannot be overstated. Long-term customer relationships can significantly affect your brand, finances, and overall organizational health and reputation. Invest in your customer relationships — they will become your biggest advocates.
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