5 Steps to Dealing With Unhappy Customers

Studies have shown that it is better to retain ONE customer than to gain THREE new customers. By increasing your customer retention, your pest control business will be more profitable and sustain greater long term growth.


Listen

Everyone hates the feeling of being ignored, especially when they are being provided a service. Giving your customer the first few minutes of the conversation to vent helps them feel like you care about their concerns. Allow them to explain the ENTIRE issue without interruption as they may give key information you would miss if you were to cut them off early. Be proactive and take notes while they are explaining what their issue is, this will prevent them from having to repeat themselves, and then you can relay this information to any other staff members that may need to take over the issue.

If you can spend the time listening to them, you will be able to understand not only why they are upset, but also what their expectations are for a resolution. Many times customers are looking for an apology and validation rather than to leave your service or get a refund. If you show the customer that you care about their issues, they are much more likely to want to work with you in the future.



Understand

Seek first to understand the whole problem before offering solutions. Oftentimes you may be trying to resolve a completely different issue than what the customer is calling about. Ask followup questions and request clarification to check for your own understanding of the issue. This will help the customer feel validated and appreciated while giving you time and information to prepare a resolution. Gather as much information as possible, including, but not limited to, employee names of people involved, dates and times, as well as specifics details of the incident. Following these steps will make the customer feel like you are understanding of their issue and care about finding a resolution.



Acknowledge

You have to acknowledge what the customer says, even if you don’t care or completely agree. We have all heard the saying, “the customer is always right.” The customer always has a different perception of what is happening, so listen and make sure that they know that you are on their side. Use phrases like: "I can see why that can be frustrating." or, "I'm sorry that you had that experience." This will relax the customer and help them feel that you acknowledge their feelings and want to help them come to a resolution.



Respect

Respect is key! Once a customer feels that they are not being respected, the conversation will go downhill quickly. If you show the customer respect, your customer will do the same for you. Make sure your tone and conversation remains clear, calm, and non-confrontational. Remember that sometimes angry customers will be purposely trying to raise an emotional response and make you lose your cool. Sometimes they may even make things up or say outrageous things to do so. Make sure to stay professional, calm, and rational, it is not a personal attack toward you, in most cases, so remember to show them that you care and respect their feelings.



Resolve

If you can listen, understand, acknowledge, and respect the customer, you will have a clear path to resolving the issue. Sometimes by following the above tips, the complaint will already be resolved. Begin by asking the customer, "What can we do to make this right?" or "How can we fix this issue?" Sometimes customers don't even know what they want -- by asking direct questions, you can quickly understand what they want and align your expectations. When customers ask for unreasonable things, remain calm and offer alternatives to show you are willing to work with them. Be generous in your resolutions and remember that retaining a customer is MUCH more profitable than gaining a new customer.