No matter how careful you are, mistakes will be made from time to time. Whether it’s a low-level representative of the company or upper management, someone will eventually make an error that affects a customer, and there should be no reason why you cannot retain their business and make them happy again. All you really need to do is jump on the situation quickly and manage it in a conscientious way.
Contact Them A.S.A.P.
The first action you want to take, of course, is to get in touch with the customer. Whether your people catch it first, or the customer brings it to your attention, contact them as soon as possible to make it right. And you should naturally make sure that they get an apology before you begin to deal with the mistake, no matter how minor the problem is.
Don’t Sweep it Under the Rug
Even if you have a competent and ethical team working for you, the person who made the error may be tempted to ignore it and act like it never happened. The problem can quickly become unnecessarily inflated when the customer never gets a message or response regarding the mistake. Make sure that your team knows that these kind of situations require a consistent and timely response.
Passing the Blame on the Customer
Many customer service professionals tend to shirk responsibility when something goes wrong and a mistake is made on the company’s end. Maybe it is due to pressure from management to conserve time and resources; or it might just be laziness on the part of the representative handling the case.
Whatever the reason, wrongly passing off the blame to the customer will probably end up being more costly anyway, in that the customer will become upset and take their business elsewhere; or that more time is spent dealing with the disgruntled customer because they feel compelled to pursue issue even more persistently. It’s just a way better practice to accept responsibility in every case.
The final step in handling an error is to offer compensation to make up for whatever went wrong. Most people will be more than satisfied if it is handled quickly and they are compensated in an amount equal to their loss. You will usually find, though, that throwing in a little extra, in the way of a credit or some kind of gift, goes a long way to keep them happy and secure their referral to other potential customers.
Finding the Problem
Once it is all said and done, don’t stop there. Go back and look into exactly why the mistake happened, so that you can avoid making the same mistake in the future. Most of the time, it’s just a momentary oversight by someone in your company, and if that is the case, try and formulate ways to minimize those kinds of oversights. This may mean coming up with new customer service policies and educating your team about them.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.