Why are my customers unhappy?
It may seem like a simple question, but taking the time to address it can drastically improve your customer service and the quality of life of your customer service team.
This butterfly effect even has a name: symmetry of attention.
This concept was developed by Charles Ditandy and Benoît Meyronin in the book “From Management to Service Marketing”.
The authors introduce this now well-known theory to explain that there is a symmetrical relationship between customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction.
Although it may seem obvious, if your customers are satisfied with your services, they will have an empathetic relationship with your company and will be more inclined to accept small inconveniences.
As a result, your customer teams will face less unhappy customers and will have a better quality of life at work.
But let’s get back to the topic at hand – what should you do when faced with an unhappy customer?
The unhappy customer: pressure all around
When encountering an unhappy customer, it can be difficult to keep your cool. As well as trying to resolve a difficult problem, an angry person can also cause stress and panic. Would you like to find the right approach to maintain a good customer relationship? Do you want to teach your customer service department how to keep calm when responding to a complaint? In this article, we can help you understand the sources of dissatisfaction and how to manage your unhappy customers.
What are the consequences of customer dissatisfaction?
There are many reasons not to leave a customer disgruntled after an interaction with your company. The most obvious answer is “to avoid losing them”, but the consequences could be much more serious.
A low retention rate
In today’s competitive world, one bad experience with a customer is often enough to lose them. Depending on the situation, even the most loyal customers may leave you. It takes just as long to turn your customers into brand ambassadors as it does to disappoint them. According to the Temkin Group survey, 86% of consumers who had a pleasant experience with a company are likely to repeat their purchase, compared to 13% of those who had a bad experience. Managing your unhappy customers is thus essential to the sustainability of your business.
A damaged brand image
Negative reviews can be devastating for a company. In 2019, IFOP observed that 47% of French people gave up on buying a product or service because of a negative review of the company’s reputation.
The 1% of customers who tend to speak up are usually unhappy customers. The problem is that most of them don’t come and talk to you directly – they prefer to post online. Therefore, it is vital to monitor reviews on websites, blogs, and social media. This is where thousands of anonymous people can write whatever they want at any time, and this puts your reputation on the line. It’s up to you to keep an eye on your social media and to respond to negative and positive opinions in order to improve your brand image. Nevertheless, you can’t stop the word-of-mouth of consumers who tell their friends and family about their bad experience.
How should you deal with unhappy customers?
Dealing with unhappy customers is an inherent part of customer service and every company has to deal with this type of situation. Here are some tips on how to maintain a good customer relationship despite the difficulties.
Take the problem into account
The worst thing for an unhappy customer is being ignored. When they send a complaint by e-mail or raise a concern to management, they require an answer as soon as possible. If you decide to bury your head in the sand, you can be sure that this customer, no matter how loyal, will never come back to your company. You must also be careful not to belittle their problem, because regardless of how big or small it may seem to you, the problem exists for them. If your customers are unhappy, there must be a reason for their dissatisfaction. It is essential that customer service find a solution and provide an answer. In the event that you are unable to answer their request, there are several ways to compensate an unhappy customer like a voucher or a discount. Whatever the situation, be sure to give a well-argued explanation with a short apology.
If your customers have multiple ways to reach you and complain over the phone, through email, or a contact form, bear in mind that not all of these options have the same empathy!
For this reason, bots are increasingly prevalent in companies with a strong need to handle incoming customer requests.
The first advantage is availability: consumers can contact your company at any time using a chatbot (a written conversational agent) or callbots (conversational phone agents). These are artificial intelligence tools that handle customer requests 24/7. They can also record conversations and forward messages to the right department. The simplest requests can be handled in a personalized way with a bot, and complex requests can be dealt with by a human agent or advisor. It’s up to you to find the best balance to save time!
Want an example?
If there is one area where customers are unhappy when they call, it is definitely insurance. With issues like water damage, accidents, and theft, there are so many reasons for customers to be on the defensive when they call. Insurance callbots and chatbots make it possible to evaluate the nature of the call upstream, thus freeing up the time of the teams in charge of customer service so that they can concentrate on the customers who need the most assistance.
Keep in mind that in most cases, the complaint is not directed at the person handling it. The customer is angry with the company, a service, or the product, not the agent who answers. When faced with an angry person, you must put aside your own
emotions and step back from the situation. Likewise, customer satisfaction is achieved through non-judgmental behavior. A customer can be fussy, impatient, or slow, but you have to accept them as they are.
It is important to remember that an emotional person cannot be talked to. They will be desperate to get their point across, but will be unable to listen, which is why you need to calm them down before you can work with them to find a solution. Empathizing is an effective way to show that you understand the issue. Put yourself in their shoes BEFORE that of the company. “I understand how you feel”, “I imagine this must be a problem” then “The clause in our contract says that…”, “For technical reasons, this solution is not feasible”. If the customer feels understood, they will be more likely to accept the company’s explanation and solution. Finally, don’t forget to end the conversation on a positive note!
Understand why customers are unhappy
To find a solution, you have to analyze the problem. The first question to ask yourself is “why are my customers dissatisfied”? Whether it’s a delay in delivery, a faulty product, or a problem with assistance, we can help you find the causes of dissatisfaction and adapt your approach to the following types of customers.
The litigious customer
Although this customer can be rather cold or aggressive, they are very fact-based and focus on the details that can work against you and do not hold back from scrutinizing contracts and legal texts. They prefer to write by e-mail in order to keep a record of the conversation. With this type of person, there is no need to apologize. It is better to remain transparent and act quickly in order not to drag out the conversation.
The opportunistic customer
This is an unhappy customer who deliberately makes an exaggerated or invalid claim. They often want financial or material compensation. It is best to ask for proof such as photos and documents to confirm that the claim is well-founded. If it is not, it is better to give them something, because they could go and cause damage if they leave empty-handed.
The emotional customer
This unhappy customer plays on emotion by emphasizing their disappointment and the dire consequences of their problem. They would like to be treated as special by a company. It is better to go along with them, ask what they want from you and make a goodwill gesture if possible. Remember to thank them and to be formal when addressing them.
The sincere customer
These customers are the easiest to deal with, as they are rational and do not want to insult your customer service. They simply want to point out a real problem, which can help you identify your weaknesses. Take the time to listen to them, apologize and thank them for their constructive feedback.