Let’s Talk Business for September 29, 2023

Each time a customer interacts with your business is an opportunity to strengthen your brand and build a valuable relationship. Great customer service is essential in helping your business stand out from its competitors. Your company’s response when things go wrong is equally as important as providing an exceptional experience.

Here’s how to effectively transform a negative customer experience into a positive one.

When faced with a customer stuck in a challenging situation, acting quickly shows your business cares and prevents the incident from spiraling out of control. Consider creating a reference guide to empower your team and streamline the process of responding to customer complaints.

The quickest way to diffuse an escalated interaction is to give the customer your undivided attention as they fully communicate their frustration. Training your employees to engage in active listening and have thoughtful conversations leads to more effective solutions. Patience is powerful. Don’t interrupt or jump to conclusions about the problem. Once the customer has shared their experience, confirm their concerns and ask follow-up questions to fully understand the issue.

Let the customer know you understand what they are experiencing and make it clear you are there to help. Use calm language, and avoid saying no or making excuses. It is more productive to steer the conversation to creative solutions you can offer — within company policy — rather than fixating on what cannot be done. Avoid arguing with the customer and instead use phrases that communicate a genuine commitment to their satisfaction.

Let the customer know that whatever negative experience they had is not in line with your company’s values or quality of service. Work through all potential solutions with them — whether it be a refund, a complimentary product or service, or a reshipment of their failed order.

When you’ve determined which path forward feels most helpful and appropriate for the situation, talk the customer through how you plan to execute the solution you’ve decided on. Then, work with your team to expedite the process and see it through.

Your initial intervention may have turned the customer optimistic and appreciative, but if the solution offered is not carried out, you risk causing even more damage. Follow up internally throughout the process to ensure the action plan is carried out.

Depending on the scope of the problem and the appropriate response, a full resolution may take some time and involve various teams. Lastly and most importantly, circle back to the customer to see if they are satisfied and show your appreciation for their business.

Every challenge is an opportunity to learn and improve. The path to excellent service is a balance of being reactive and proactive.

The Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce offers many resources to help you start, run, and grow your business–including our annual Leadership Emporia Academy, monthly Group Lunches, Ribbon Cuttings, Business After Hours events, Legislative Dialogues, and more. Stop by the Trusler Business Center at 719 Commercial St., call 620-342-1600, or visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org to learn more.

# # #

“Let’s Talk Business” is a weekly column of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Emporia. The mission of the Chamber is to be proactive in creating an environment for business and community success, guided by the vision that positive attitudes promote positive actions. Contact us at 620-342-1600 or chamber@emporiakschamber.org and visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org.