frustrated elderly man

A company’s reputation is its life blood. A good reputation can guarantee you clients if you know how to leverage it. Unfortunately, every company takes a few hits and makes a few mistakes that can damage or even destroy their reputation. A study by Lee Resources shows that 91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with your company again. Providers should be ready to handle these hits, which often define whether their companies will thrive or die. These simple steps can ensure that when problems arise your clients stay happy and your reputation remains intact:

1. Listen

The best way to ruin your relationship with clients is to minimize or dismiss their problems. Once a client begins to tell you what’s wrong, take the time to listen attentively. Don’t interject or make excuses, and don’t jump right into a solution. Let them finish and try to understand what they are saying to you. Though clients are generally looking for a solution, being heard is often as important as the solution itself. When they finish speaking, thank them for confiding in you and repeat back what they said to be sure you understand.

2. Apologize

A sincere apology is often enough to appease a frustrated client. It not only shows you recognize that there’s a legitimate problem, but it also shows that you empathize with the client’s situation and want to change it. When you apologize, once again do not make excuses or justify the situation. Also avoid blaming or criticizing a person or department. Simply say how sorry you are that this has happened and express your desire to help.

3. Find a solution

Though you may have a quick solution to the problem, first ask the client what outcome she or he is hoping for. The answer may be simpler than you think. If the client’s suggestion isn’t possible, discuss alternatives until you reach an agreement. It’s important that the client is satisfied with the action you decide to take, so be sure that you both understand your plan of action.

4. Act quickly

Angry customers can be short-fused time bombs that can cause heavy damage to a company’s reputation, so this entire process needs to happen quickly. All of your caregivers and office staff should be trained in resolving problems to ensure that issues are taken care of promptly. The longer you wait to respond to a grievance, the greater the problem will become to the client. Once you reach a solution, tell the client what and when you’re going to put it into action and ensure it’s seen through.

5. Follow up

After completing these steps, make sure the client is satisfied with the solution and the complaint is resolved. If there is still a problem, you may want to repeat this process until it is satisfactorily resolved.

Complaints are not pleasant, but negative feedback is a necessary part of growth. While complaints are sometimes frustrating, they don’t have to be damaging if you handle them well.

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  1. Cathy Espinoza July 8, 2015 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    These tips are so important. We all know how much we hate dealing with someone on the phone who just keeps apologizing and you know that it’s just protocol for them to keep repeating I’m sorry without sincerity. When we are responsible for someone’s loved one, it’s so important to not only be compassionate but to treat the situation as if it were your own family member.

    I’ve been in customer service for over 25 years with the most recent years involving our senior citizens and they mostly just want to be heard.

    Great tips for all who are involved with the home care industry.

    • Home Care Pulse July 9, 2015 at 2:02 pm - Reply

      Listening is definitely one of the greatest forms of respect, and I’ve felt that in my own life. The first thing you can do to show a client that you care is taking the time to listen attentively. If you start with that, your clients will trust you and be more willing to forgive mistakes. Do you have any other customer service tips from your 25 years of experience?

  2. Soon Su July 14, 2015 at 12:02 am - Reply

    Pay attention,showing you care,that’s my keys & make everyone happy

  3. Sherlene Simpson February 11, 2016 at 6:43 am - Reply

    Excellent article. Every person in customer service should use the aforementioned suggestions to resolve difficult situations. It may not make a difference to everyone that is disgruntled but it will give the business a good foundation to work from which in turn can improve the culture of its employees. When you have employees that care about what they are doing and believe in the mission of the agency outcomes and performance will improve.

    • Home Care Pulse February 12, 2016 at 10:39 am - Reply

      Thanks Sherlene! You’re right; you won’t be able to satisfy every customer, but creating a culture that listens and responds to concerns will ultimately help your company improve its level of care.

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