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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