There's Nothing Scarier!
There is NOTHING scarier than an unhappy customer!
If something goes "sideways" and your customer is not happy with your products or your work, find out why!
- Was there a gap in their expectations?
- Determine where the breakdown in communications occurred, so that it does not happen again, with this or any other customer!
- Did you miss the deadline?
- If you have to miss it, be sure to connect with your customer and let them know what is happening, and what you are doing about it, if anything.
- Did they not approve the artwork in a timely manner?
- Could you reach out to the customer sooner or even more persistently, by email, phone and in even person - and be more direct that their work cannot advance until you hear from them?
- Some other reason?
- Find out by asking them, directly, at the moment you hear they are not satisfied.
While it is pretty darn hard to stand there and "take it on the chin" from the customer, if you are willing and able to do so with a professional attitude, you are much more likely to see this customer again in the future.
If you made a mistake, own up to it, apologize for it, and do what you feel is warranted by the situation to correct the situation.
Some ideas for corrections include:
- A genuine acknowledgement of the error and sincere apology
Sometimes the customer just needs to be heard, for you to acknowledge that you slipped up or dropped the ball. If you do nothing, you will probably never see them again. AND they are likely to tell anyone they know about their experience with you, warts and all - in fact, they may only talk about the warts of their experience! Talk about SCARY!
On the other hand, if you come through and make amends, they are just as likely to brag about you and your business and how well you handled the situation for them.
Which conversation would you rather they be sharing with their family and their friends? You do have a chance to influence this, but only if you act immediately and address the situation at the time you find out about it.
Have you "rescued" a customer or a situation with a customer? I would love to hear about it - tell me more below!
The lack of adequate documentation outlining 'rights and responsibilities' or conditions of sale, etc., really are the root of many of the problems that I see folks struggling with.
Do you insist that customers sign-off on a sample sewout?
Do you have a policy in place with regard to customer supplied garments (how much you are willing to pay/replace, etc., if something goes wrong)
Do you also have a policy of how to deal with specific situations, i.e,. unhappy or difficult customers.
While each customer is unique and must be dealt with individually, you have to find a solution that is mutually beneficial.
Keep in mind that some folks will never be satisfied and they just want a cheaper price than quoted - we see that a lot.
In my own business, we do everything possible to make sure that a customer is happy or we will refund their money. After we have exhausted troubleshooting of embroidery technique or the design, we will offer a refund. I KNOW that one unhappy customer can have a very negative effect on your business, especially when a bad word in a chat-room of forum .... that is a permanent record.