Customer service is a key element in providing value for purchasers of your products or service. In fact, exemplary customer service is one of the reasons most often cited for doing business with a company.

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, a customer will still be justifiably upset. These are the times to bring your customer service “A” game to work through the bump in your relationship.

There are several reasons to make sure you handle an unhappy customer carefully:

  • Dissatisfied customers will tell their friends about their experience.
  • For every complaint, there are 26 other unhappy customers who won’t complain.
  • It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.

To take your business relationships to the next level, here are three big mistakes to avoid!

  1. Don’t Diagnose Before You Prescribe – It’s easy to jump in with a solution before you fully understand the problem. Ask questions, and once you understand, ask the customer what they see as a suitable resolution first. Don’t offer more than they were expecting, get them to bid first!
  1. Fixing the Problem, but Leaving the Customer Angry – Have you ever gotten what you wanted from a company, but vowed to never do business with them again? Your goal should be to fix both the problem AND the customer. Step one? Show empathy. Let the customer know that you genuinely want to help them resolve their issue. Shift their attitude from combative to collaborative. Tell them how much you value their business, and how important it is to you that they leave happy. It’s not only about fixing the problem, it’s how you make them feel that keeps them coming back.
  1. Keep Your Promises! – Don’t be all talk and no action. Follow through quickly. Keep customers posted if there’s a problem resolving their issue, provide updates, and let them know they’re a priority. It’s a lack of action and poor communication that does the worst damage.

If you deal with the public, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to deal with upset customers at some point. They can make your business stronger by teaching you about your weaknesses. By strengthening your communication skills and avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to turning upset customers into loyal ones.