From Grouchy to Grateful

Mistakes are a huge pain in the neck for both business and consumer.  When was the last time you, yourself, were an unsatisfied customer?

Think about it for a sec.

Maybe it was this morning when you realized your just-purchased socks had a big fat hole in them.  Maybe your new computer’s M-key is sticking and it’s driving you nuts.  The cell phone you wanted was out of stock.  Or how about the new clothes you bought online, but the company sent the wrong size?  Maybe you experienced the grumpy grumble of an unsatisfied customer just now, when you sat down, eager for refreshment, only to sip a fizzy but flavorless Sprite because the syrup needed replacing.  Big or small, whatever it is, chances are you’ve been let down by some sort of company (or two, or three…) recently and had a taste of what it feels like to be an unsatisfied customer.

How did they make it up to you?  If you’d told them about it, what could they have done to both solve the problem and get your business next time?

Things can always go wrong

Think about what it’s like for your customers when you get something wrong.  It happens.  It’s part of business and part of life.  Despite your best efforts, some time, somewhere, someone is going to be unsatisfied.  Sometimes it will be something you could have anticipated or prevented and other times it will be completely out of your control but it’s still your problem.  Either way, turning an angry customer into a satisfied and loyal one is tricky but vital.  You want to end on a good note and your competition is only a click or a phone call away.  Once a mistake has been made, what can you do to repair the situation?  How can you prevent something similar from happening next time, or to the next customer?

Right the wrong

An obvious step is to right the wrong.  As the company, your job is to quickly and efficiently fix whatever the problem is: replace the socks, fix the Sprite syrup, order the new cell phone, whatever.   Then what?  Consider different ways you can sweeten the next deal, the more creative the better.  Approach each mistake as an opportunity instead of a nightmare, and think about how you can transform something bad into something awesome.  Don’t just fix it so it’s the same as if there was no mistake; improve the situation and you’ll have a customer for life.