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It is impossible to keep every customer you interact with perfectly happy. At some point in time, you’ll get an email or phone call from a customer who had an unpleasant experience with your staff, products, or shop. Don’t let these situations get you down. In this article, the CEO of Felt+Fat, Nate Mell, discusses the different ways you can effectively address the needs of an unhappy client.
To get started, you can:
- Assess the Problem
Before you can effectively address an unhappy customer’s needs, you need to understand what’s gone amiss. Sit down with your client, either online or in-person, and discuss the issue. Most of the time, unhappy customers want a friendly ear in their corner. If you allow them to explain what’s upset them, you’ll have more opportunities to present potential solutions.
- Work Within Your Means
At the end of the day, you’re only human. You can’t restock an item that’s been discontinued or have a replacement product delivered in less than twelve hours. With that in mind, brainstorm solutions to a client’s problem—but only those solutions that are within your means. Do not overextend yourself on a client’s behalf if they’re requesting the impossible.
That said, do exhaust what means you have available to you. Go to someone higher up in the food chain if a consumer needs that you can’t meet. Collaborate with your peers to see if anyone’s dealt with a similar problem before. When you put your all on the line for a consumer, you provide a customer service experience that’s bound to generate returning purchases, if not a bit of goodwill.
- Set Boundaries
In a similar vein, be prepared to set boundaries. The customer is always right, but that doesn’t mean you must endure verbal abuse or intimidation. If you feel uncomfortable in a client’s presence, let them know. Alternatively, get another party involved. When you make your boundaries clear to a client at the beginning of an interaction, it will be easier for both of you to leave the exchange satisfied.
- Listen and Rework Your Strategy
Often, the plan that you initially craft to suit a client’s needs won’t work out. Don’t get discouraged, though. Interacting with upset customers is all about improvisation. Instead, work through a list of potential solutions, making sure to keep your client’s concerns at the forefront of the conversation. If you’re not sure of one path’s tenability, consider combining existing placation strategies.
The more flexible you are while soothing an upset client, the better luck you’ll have in meeting their needs and retaining a later sale.
About Nathaniel Mell
Nathaniel Mell, founder and CEO of Felt+Fat offers clients in Kensington, Philadelphia, and beyond access to state-of-the-art ceramic designs and tools in the Felt+Fat manufacturing studio. Since the beginning of operations in 2013, the Felt+Fat team has grown, releasing designer ceramics that have appeared in award-winning restaurants worldwide.
Felt+Fat releases over 30,000 pieces on an annual basis. The company’s designs and designers have featured in outlets like the NY Times, Forbes 30 under 30, and more. All the while, Nate Mell pioneers ceramic innovation, striving for designs that are both timeless and ethically manufactured.