Saturday, November 20, 2010

Break Up with Customers Graciously

Sometimes you’re no longer able to adequately satisfy a customer who’s been frequenting your store. It’s time for a breakup. When this happens, the emotions probably won’t be nearly as intense as in the breakup of a relationship with a lover or the termination of an employment relationship with one of your staff. Still, there will indeed be emotions, and unless you handle matters properly, those emotions might result in consequences harmful to your business.
     Those emotions often include shame and insecurity, according to researchers at University of Western Ontario and Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. The consequences, the researchers found, spring from this ashamed, insecure former customer deciding to hurt the business by spreading as much negative word-of-mouth as possible. The root of it all is the customer’s belief that the retailer has betrayed the customer’s trust in them. The loss for the retailer is from the customers’ future purchases, but potentially much more than that, from others who are influenced by the negative reviews.
  • As promptly as you can, find out what is bothering the customer. A good diagnostic question to ask is, “What can I do to make things right?” Research at Case Western Reserve University points out that customers with complaints range from those who just want to have an “I’m sorry” up to activists who plan to go to the media or to government agencies.
  • Aim to resolve the problems out of the earshot of other shoppers, especially shoppers who have accompanied the complainer into the store. People who are ashamed or insecure are better able to maintain their rational thinking when they don’t have the expectation or opportunity to act out their outrage in front of a group.
  • Remember that people can decode an unreasonable complaint. The Ontario researchers present this example of a real posting: “I used to love [that store]. Let me tell you all why I plan to never go back there again; I hate them with a passion now,….” Research indicates that readers of such a posting, which talks of “hate” and “passion,” will suspect that this reviewer isn’t objectively accurate.
  • Keep the relationship alive. Make the last memory that person has of your store one of gracious respect. After they get away long enough to relax their shame and insecurity and to correct their belief that you’ve betrayed their trust, they might come back.
For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more:
Resolve Customer Complaints Carefully

No comments:

Post a Comment