Complaining clients help your business more than clients who praise your business. Sounds crazy, but look at these statistics from “Consumer Complaint Handling in America: An Update Study,” by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs.
4% of dissatisfied clients complain
91% of dissatisfied clients won’t do business with you again
80% of dissatisfied clients tell ten people
20% of dissatisfied clients tell 20 people
The customer who complains may help save your business if you handle it correctly. This person is telling you what you are doing wrong. Otherwise, you might never know and you would keep making the same mistake until it drove your business into the ground.
The more complaints you hear about, the more issues you can fix. They’re also giving you an opportunity to keep them as a client.
What You Do Next Will Affect Your Entire Business.
First, don’t be defensive, as hard as that can be. Don’t be hurt or angry. Don’t let those feelings creep into what you tell the client. This is all about the client and their problem. Their complaint may seem petty to you, but it’s pretty large to them. After all, it made them mad enough to contact you and complain. What matters is that you take this opportunity to repair the problem and hopefully make this person a good-will emissary for your business.
To ensure that this complaint does not hurt your business, you need to deal with it quickly and with good spirit. This client is giving you a chance to make it right before they tell everyone they know.
So here are some of the some of the responses you should use: Thanks for telling me about the problem. I want to give you and every client the best service possible. I’m sorry this caused problems for you.
Ask them to tell you exactly how you failed them. What can I do to make things right? Listen carefully and offer to fix the problem completely and quickly.
Followup to make sure the client is happy with the solution.
Instead of passively waiting to hear complaints from the 4% of customers who voice them, come right out and ask for them. You could add this to the bottom of your invoice when the bill is paid.
Thanks for your business!
If there’s something wrong with our service (product), please let us know right away.
Call me at this (Phone Number) so I can take care of it promptly.
This may go against your intuition, but think how much it could benefit your business. It will improve your services so customers get what they want. This will bring you more customers and fewer complaints.
Rather than viewing complaints as a pain in the butt to deal with, see them as an opportunity to save a client and improve your business.
When the Client is Wrong or Made A Mistake
When a client is sure that you are wrong when in fact they are, you have to tell them so tactfully. But the one thing you don’t want to do is to argue with your client. Even if you’re right, you can’t win. An angry client hurts your business in many ways.
When your company makes a mistake even if it is not your fault, take responsibility. Passing the buck just frustrates your client off and does not help your business. People will appreciate this whether or not they tell you.
The quality of a video can be very subjective. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder. This is one reason we go to great lengths to make a letter of agreement with a video client before the work begins. The letters are very detailed and cover all the bases. We spend time explaining all the items in the letter to the client to make sure they understand it before the work starts. We point out the Change Order form and explain how that works. This one small detail can greatly improve your work and profits.
Some Clients Go Off The Deep End
If you follow the principles outlined above, you are doing everything you can for an unhappy client. Just be patient and polite. Don’t get into an argument. Despite your best efforts, some clients may go beyond complaining and become abusive. This is where you draw the line. You don’t have to take that and you shouldn’t. Say something like “You are being abusive. I will no longer discuss these issues with you. I am sending you a refund check. Good bye.”
Some clients are just not worth it. You should walk away because otherwise they will drag you down, make you life miserable and hurt your business. Remember 80% of the problems are from 20% of the customers. It makes dollars and sense to get rid of the 20% so you can focus on the clients who account for 80% of your business and are a pleasure to deal with.
- Sincerely apologize when your company makes a mistake. Immediately resolve the problem.
- When a client makes a mistake, be tactful and polite.
- Work closely with your clients and educate them how a video is built.
- Fire clients when they become abusive.