Jeff Djevdet (cc)
Errors in business happen, but when you take the wrong direction — even in good faith — that makes customers feel deceived, you risk to never see them again.
Hurting customers may risk you business and reputation, but every error can be amended if you work hard on earning your customers’ trust back.
How? Here is the guide.
What To Do To Win Your Customers Back
Get in touch with your customers and announce a change in business ethics
When it’s your business ethics to bring trouble — for example, you shipped your products for a fee when you stated it would be free shipping, or you use a cheaper shipping method when customer paid for a more expensive one — your whole customer base is affected, even though only a few of your customers were hurt by your practices.
What you can do in this case is to change your business ethics, announce it publicly on your website and get in touch with all customers via newsletter, offer an apology for your past bad practices and explain how exactly you are going to implement the new practices.
Offer your hurt customers ways you can fix the issue you created
If the problem involved individual customers, contact them to apologize and offer them to fix the issues you created, either intentionally or not.
You may add an apology bonus, like a discount, a gift or a custom order.
Apologize personally if you can
Email customers individually to offer personal apologies. Even better if you can do it via phone or in person.
Don’t underestimate the power of the human touch — customers who feel they are cared for are more likely to stick to a brand than customers who feel like they’re just a number in your database.
In addition to personal apology, make it public if the issue affected a big slice of your customer base.
Discontinue the hurting practices
Whether you get in touch with your customers or not, by all means stop doing anything that hurts them.
Not doing so may create a negative image around your brand and risk you business in the long run.
Work on practices that will meet the favor of your customers (new and old)
What do your customers want? When are they happiest? What past initiatives, practices or messages did create the most content in your client base?
Ask yourself questions. Analyze your data. Do more of what your current customers love and create more products or services on the same line to attract new buyers or users.
Whenever a controversy is raised, work to fix it immediately and always leave an open channel with your client base.
Ultimately, when you do wrong, all you can do is take responsibility and fix all the fixable.
If the customer is still unhappy for personal reasons, that’s something that doesn’t involve you — it’s a simple matter of likes and dislikes and you can do nothing about it.
For more discussion and ideas:
- 3 Ways to Win Back Unhappy Customers by Karl Walinskas
- How to Win Back Lost Customers by Dave Mattson
Have you ever seen controversy raise in your relationship with your customers? How did you fix it?
Share your wisdom and experience in the comments below.