Mistakes happen. This is a fact we need to accept. The crucial aspect is what you do next. Your business mistakes will make customers angry and sometimes, dissatisfied with your offerings. In this phase, you need to focus all your attention and energy on them. Understanding your mistake, what made them upset and what they are asking from you are a few elements that can give you an idea on how to deal with the situation.
Rewarding angry customers is a technique you can integrate in your customer service strategy. When they are contacting to complain about an action you did or didn’t do, offering a discount or even a free product or service can have a positive impact on the entire situation. It manages to compensate for the damage, can change your customers’ mood and earn their loyalty.
Yet, a reward that stands alone may not be the best approach. It needs to be integrated in a more complex process. You need clear rules on who will do what when it happens.
One great example you can learn from is offered by the Disney Institute. They are experts in dealing with such cases and keeping their customers happy. Their service recovery process is simple, yet very efficient. It shows how you can approach angry customers and direct your actions towards finding a solution to a problem.
The Disney approach, H.E.A.R.D, is composed of 5 steps and we will go through all of them.
When an angry customer comes to you, you need to carefully listen to what he or she is saying. Let them tell you what happened, what upset them and what they were expecting from you.
This is the moment when you take action. We cannot stress out the importance of empathy in customer service. In this step, you bound with your customers and understand their problem. Using expressions like “I’d feel the same way if I were you” or “I know what you mean” can show you are paying attention to what they are saying and care about it.
This is probably the most important step. In customer service, many aspects can be planned beforehand. What you say when a product is out of stock or or your software goes under an unplanned maintenance are just two examples. It is hard to write down an apology and use it every time an angry customer contacts you. At least, a sincere one.
Like in other situations, apologies must come from deep inside. Sometimes, an apology is all a customer needs.
When you encounter problems, you need to also concentrate on the actions you need to take. First of all, look for what could directly solve the problem. Provide customers the information and support they are expecting.
Secondly, you need to think of damage control methods. Put yourself in the customers’ shoes or simply ask them: “What can I do to make this better for you?”
Yes, this is the moment when you introduce the rewards/compensations. After you manage to solve their problem, offer customers something that could make up for the unpleasant experience.
After you have helped your customer, take a step back and think of the problem’s cause. Without throwing the blame on different sides, look for the factors that allowed this to happen and how you can avoid such a situation in the future.
What you need to understand about rewarding angry customers is you cannot treat them all the same. Of course, your main goal is to satisfy their needs and keep them happy, but the techniques you use should vary. You need to decide on the customers and situations where the rewarding approach applies.
The severity of the problem can be one criterion. If the situation is really delicate, a compensation can have a positive impact. For example, if a customer has ordered a product from you and its arrival exceeds the due date, consider not charging him for transport or offering a discount coupon for a future purchase. The next time he orders from you, he will know you deliver not only the product he wants, but also the care he is expecting.
Loyal customers fit in this category as well. Old customers who are accustomed with your business are a gold mine for you. Keeping an already-existing customer costs less than acquiring a new one. To be more precise, a new customer will cost your business 5 times more than maintaining an old one.
Rewarding angry customers is a great technique your business needs. It can help you offer excellent customer service and create a strong business image.