Restoring Customer Confidence when things go awry

by | Dec 22, 2016 | Customer Service | 0 comments

“Make the customer’s problem your problem.” –Shep Hyken

We already know that there will be times when customer situations would run into trouble, and a company would have a tough time dealing with the resultant frustration and ire. Such situations can even occur daily, and there really is no way to prevent completely, things from going awry. However, with robust strategies for damage control, a company can be successful each time in restoring customer confidence, preventing customers from leaving and or spreading negativity about the company. The larger a company or the greater the number of offerings, the greater would the chances of things going awry and creating situations that would lead to customer churn. The scarier part is that angry customers usually tell about 15 people about their unpleasant situations (as against pleased customers who may tell only six others), increasing the amount of negativity for the company. With the surge in technology, spreading news about a company has become as simple as clicking on a button.

Restoring customer confidence may not be an easy task, but it certainly is doable and would depend on the approach a company has towards its customers. Each person in the company must not only understand the importance of providing top class customer service, but must also know how to mitigate unpleasant situations and work swiftly and efficiently to restore the trust and confidence of the customers in the company. Companies that are able to manage the challenging situations with customers would not only be able to restore their confidence but also possibly gain a passionate brand ambassador for life. Research shows that a company has a better chance of making its customers loyal when it is able to remedy successfully a problem. What strategies and methods does your company have in place for restoring customer confidence?

We believe that since customers associate with a company for a number of reasons, many of which are emotional, one of the most important ways of restoring customer confidence would be to empathize with them. Customers when facing a problem expect that someone in the company would listen to them attentively, and make an earnest attempt at resolving the issue speedily. Companies that are able to do so not only get back the customer’s trust but also showing concern and empathizing with the customers, are able to create a bond and emotional connection with customers, which over time translates to loyalty, profitability, and brand advocacy from customers. Things will go wrong – however, companies that make an instant and unfeigned apology are better positioned at restoring customer confidence and keeping the relationship with their customer intact. An apology shows that the company accepts its mistake, is committed to the customer, is a courteous company, and one that puts its customers before everything else.

Research shows that humble companies are not only good at restoring customer confidence, but find it easier to build and strengthen emotional bonds with companies. Research also shows that a genuine apology can raise customer satisfaction levels by almost 15% – which in today’s competitive environment can prove to be the winning stroke for any company. When customers ‘forgive’ a company, it also regains its goodwill and standing in the market, and places it in the limelight – over its competitors.

We cannot emphasize enough that since human beings are imperfect, there are bound to be inefficiencies and inadequacies in the way they run the business. These ‘imperfections’ are what lead things to go awry, and serve to irritate the customers. Customers know that there would be times when things do not always happen the way they expect, and they are ready to keep confidence in a company as long as they perceive courtesy and friendliness on the part of the company. Everyone in a company must understand the importance of having pleasant, helpful, and polite interactions with customers – external and internal. These are not ‘frills’ but expected behaviours and help to diffuse even the toughest situations, and pacify the angriest of customers.

Research shows that when customers perceive that they receive courteous and respectful treatment even in tough times, restoring customer confidence becomes a lot easier for the company. This may sound easy but not everyone in a company is able to keep calm especially when customers seem unreasonable and overly angry. Even if a customer may behave unreasonably or seem angrier than they should be, restoring their confidence would not be hard if the company listened to their ire, and would be able to provide the most effective solution in the fastest time possible. Customers that receive such treatment even in high stress situations, calm down faster, and would be more likely to reward the company with more business and loyalty over time.

When things go wrong, restoring customer confidence would not be as tough if a company displayed a sense of urgency and commitment to resolving the issue for the customer. Every person in the company, especially the customer service teams, should be equipped and empowered to be able to resolve problems for the customers without too much time elapse or ‘red tape’. Speedy resolutions not only help in restoring customer confidence, but also greatly improve the image of a company with its customers, which in turn has a profound positive impact on customer loyalty. Research shows that at least 95% of the customers that complain would remain with a company if their problem were resolved during the first connection made for the problem, and only 70% customers would possibly remain loyal if their problem were not immediately resolved.

It is understandable that there could be some problems where an immediate resolution would not be possible however, it is always necessary to respond immediately to customers, beginning with a sincere apology. The company must be able to show customers that it is working on the problem, provide a definite timeline by when customers can expect the resolution, and ensure that the timeline is met. Companies often forget to keep customers in the loop, which strengthens the perception of customers that the company is out to cheat them and treat them unfairly. One of the foremost steps towards restoring customer confidence is for a company to have robust methods in place to handle problems swiftly and efficiently.

There would be times when a resolution may have come too late, or may not be possible at all – then how does a company go about restoring customer confidence? The answer possibly lies in compensating the customer for their trouble. This can be in the form of discounts, gift cards, refunds, freebies, product samples, shopping coupons and other such incentives. Research shows that such methods have worked to improve customer satisfaction and restore confidence, post a service lapse. It is important to surprise and delight customers all the time and even more so when your company messes up.

A company that gets a second chance at restoring customer confidence should consider itself fortunate. This just means that the customer has given it an opportunity to prove its worth, and the customer would be willing to stay with it if things are resolved. We know that many customers remain silent when a company messes up, and would leave without telling it what it could have done better. Hence, customers that do complain must be given utmost respect and importance. A company must restore their confidence, and be sure to be rewarded with repeated purchases and enthusiastic referrals and testimonials.

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