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Yes and no. Listening to unhappy customers can make you realize that you should be doing something different. If so, fix it and you've learned from the experience. Great!
However, some people are unhappy no matter what you do. This particular brand of unhappy customers are a waste of your time and bring everyone around them down. That's not healthy for your business. I say, fire your nagging customers. Some complaints are not meant to be constructive and thus do you no good.
Yeah, firing your unhappy customers is pretty darn cool--if you're in a business that's growing. The Wall Street Journal had an article on this last year. Relieves stress too.
For businesses that can't fire customers, the best option is to listen to the crybabies, fix anything that truly needs fixing, and then ignore the rest. Like you say, there's always a whinner in every crowd.
I would agree with you to a point, but you have to weigh the profitability of unhappy customers on your business. If you have to spend a significant amount of time visiting or talking to unhappy customers. If you have to give them big discounts, rebates, or freebies to keep them happy, then be sure your business is still making a profit from them. If the extra care you need to take to make them happy, causes you to lose money then it might be time to "fire" them.
As long as a customer is making us aware that he or she is unhappy, we have an opportunity to win them over. We want to remain open to that -- the alternative is that customers would go away unhappy, never say anything, and never return. In that case, we'd lose the marketing investment we made to get them there in the first place -- plus we'd lose their repeat business, the business of the people they know, and the business of anyone else who may be unhappy about the same thing.
When a customer is unhappy, we recognize that we have failed to meet his or her needs and expectations. We then have to accurately determine precisely what those needs and expectations are. If we can meet them within the guidelines of our operation, we do. If we can't, we tell the customer face-to-face -- which I think is similar to what previous posts have called "firing the customer."
In many industries, customers know little or nothing about the products and services they are buying -- and because of that, they create unnecessary problems and raise ridiculous objections (perhaps as a tactic to avoid being taken advantage of). In those industries, we try hard to educate our potential customers so they have a reasonable expectation to begin with.
Listen to the complaint of unhappy customer with full attention. Use your common sense to analyze the severity of problem. If it is valid, take action and get it corrected. Get customer name and number. Send him/her thank you card with coupon and inform them that problem has been corrected.
If you feel customer is just upset, still take his number and send him thank you card for bringing problem to your attention.
Unhappy customers?? Every business and service will have at least one unhappy customer.
It shows character to put up with the problem customer and work through the problem.
If you have the right product or service you will succeed.
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Post is quite old but still I'd like to say something from experience. Smile like anything, take a certain amount of sledging. Most important try and build a rapport.
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I believe, unhappy costomers are the opportunities. Listen to them with patieance. It works like a magic.. Some of them will try to take advantage of your hospitality. You can always fitler them with the time. Most of the people are still good. This is another way to keep your customers with you.