Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How to Turn an Unsatisfied Customer into a Happy One

Hello, hello! It's Brittni here from papernstitch. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be stopping by to share tips with you on running an online business, selling your wares, and other helpful tips and tricks. Today's post is about dealing with unhappy customers. So let's jump in...

What? How is that possible? Well, it's like this... People who are unsatisfied with a product or service spread the information like wildfire. Why? Because they are mad, and they want other people to know about it. Simple as that. And I think it's pretty clear that you don't want that to happen with your business.
So, how can you turn a negative customer experience in to a good one?
You just have to bite your tongue.
Hear me out. Often times, if you receive an email from a dissatisfied customer, chances are your initial reaction is a bit defensive. “But I spent three hours making _________. How could she say it is of poor quality? Sally Batbrain just doesn't know what she is talking about.” Or some variation on this theme. Well, guess what? You don’t want to say that to your customer, no matter how irrelevant you feel their claim may be.
So, this is what I would recommend. Take some time to compose yourself. Its hard not to take things personal when something goes wrong. That’s why our natural reaction is to get defensive. Don’t. Take a few minutes before writing a response. And once a draft has been written, press SAVE not SEND. Walk away and come back to it later. Make any necessary changes and remove anything that could be labeled as snarky.
Basically, you want your response to be as short and as pleasant as possible, while addressing all of the customer’s concerns. Remember, you don’t want people blabbing to their friends about how much you and your products suck. And if you say something rude, in writing no less, it will come back to bite you in the butt. Guaranteed. So, if you are at fault say so. If a customer wants to return an item, refer them to your shop policies, and give them an answer as to whether or not the return will be allowed. Same goes for a refund.
And lastly, make a kind gesture. Some people will agree with me on this one and some won’t. But I personally believe its important to extend a hand to anyone who is unhappy with your products or services (within reason). Try offering a discount off their next purchase; a partial refund; or even free additional merchandise if you feel inclined.
Bottom line. Make your customers happy, even after they have had a “bad experience”, and they will always come back. And that means success for your business.

Less Than Satisfied Customers: While they may be rare (hopefully they are), they can also be a deciding factor in making or breaking your business.
Have your own experiences to share on this subject? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

*image c/o TaraLynn

Brittni Mehlhoff is the editor of the handmade blog, papernstitch, where she regularly writes a small business advice column for artists and makers. And she is also the founder of the art and handmade exhibition site, also named papernstitch.


  1. Thanks Fairyrocks. Appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment on my article.