Each client is valuable to a business for two reasons: they offer the potential for income and the possibility that they could refer you to other people. When a client has expressed dissatisfaction, the first option is always to make amends.
While aiming to mend the relationship and extend the potential to earn income from the client, it's important to keep the cost of time in mind. Your time has a value based on what you can deliver in each hour and you can only work a certain number of hours in each day.
The question to ask yourself is: would I get more value out of investing time and effort into saving my relationship with this client or would I get a better return on my use of time by going after new clients?
Winning new clients is generally more difficult than keeping existing ones, so the first option is always to rescue the relationships.
Here are some few suggestions to help you deal with difficult customers.
If you make the client feel fully heard, without being defensive, and acknowledge what went wrong, this may be all that's required. Most people just want to feel that they've made their point and received the apology they were looking for.
Use the client's input to improve your service levels
Any complaint is an opportunity to improve your business offering. Listen, learn, tell the client what you're going to do to fix the problem and then make sure that no other client ever experiences the same problem.
Win greater loyalty
You could send the client a personal letter of apology, thanking them for helping you to improve your business by expressing what wasn't working. This could be accompanied by a corporate gift to express your loyalty and appreciation.
Seek feedback from your other clients
Regularly and actively ask for feedback around the issue and other aspects of your business so that all your clients know you're constantly aiming to improve the level of your service. Ask them to let you know whenever they aren't 100% happy with your service.
Go back to the client in a few months time to ensure that they're happy and loyal and would recommend you to their network.
Cut your ties
The hard choice comes when you've tried your best, but the client keeps coming back with more demands or refuses to be satisfied with apologies, discounts or whatever you've tried. You need to be clear about the point at which the battle to keep the client by making them happy is costing you more time, effort or money than the relationship is potentially worth. If it's costing you more time than it's worth, cut the client loose.
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