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How to Deal with a Disgruntled Client… And How Marketing Automation Can Help You Prevent it Happening in the Future

As a small business owner, there may come a time when you come across a disgruntled client. No one is perfect and mistakes can and will occur. The key is to know how to deal with unhappy clients in a way that benefits both them and your business. There may be situations where you are completely in the right, but it does not matter in the end because arguing the point will only have one outcome! To avoid that unhappiness, here is a three step guide on how to get back in a client’s good books.

The Client’s Perspective

The first thing you have to do is put yourself in your client’s shoes, just for a few moments, to try and understand why they might be unhappy with your service. If you can’t figure out what got their goat in the first place, how on Earth can you get to the bottom of what’s wrong? Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as possible: you might think it shows ‘weakness’, but it actually proves that you’re logical and level-headed enough to admit when you’re wrong. The client will not only appreciate the attention that you are giving the them and the situation they are in but also give you valuable feedback that you can then apply to any future situations that may arise.

The best way to prevent these situations? Managing expectations. Don’t over-promise, either in terms of price or deadlines. Sure, it might look good at the time, and your client might be impressed by the value or quick turnover time you’re offering. Be realistic when it comes to describing the effort or value you’re putting into a project right from the get-go. Your clients will appreciate your honesty.

Active Listening

One of the most important tools of success when it comes to actually getting over an issue is active listening. It may seem like second nature to want to defend yourself whenever your small business’ reputation is on the line, but it is always important to keep in mind that the client is the one who should be doing most of the talking and not yourself. You want to show the client first and foremost that you care about them and the problem(s) that they are bringing to your attention, and the best way to do this is through active listening: concentrating fully on what they have to say, whether they have a complaint or not, and directly responding to what they say or ask.

Respond Quickly

Once you know what’s wrong, it’s essential that you move on from discussing the problem to actually doing something about it. The last thing that you want as a small business owner is to have a growing list of unhappy clients who you haven’t gotten round to making happy again. By listening, seeing things from their perspective, and responding quickly to the issue at hand you will win the respect of the client and perhaps even make them loyal to your business. It is all about the way in which you respond to the client. You could give the right response, but if it is not done in a timely manner than the client may think you don’t care about them or their problems. So make it snappy!

Let’s go with the example of a client who believes they were charged unfairly for a particular service. On reviewing the matter you find out that an employee made a mistake when they were typing out the client’s details, which meant that they were charged the wrong price. In this kind of example, the best method of making things right again is to go above and beyond. The normal response would be to simply apologise and refund the client the difference that they are asking for. Instead, go a little further: offer them a few extra freebies, and maybe even a little more than they asked for. Show them that you value their business and want them to remain loyal clients with your small business.

How Marketing Automation Can Help

That being said, wouldn’t it be nice to avoid as many of these situations as possible? You may want to consider marketing automation. It can help you by…

  1. Reducing Mistakes
    Let’s go back to our example above. Say that our employee typed in the wrong price for the client’s service into a CRM platform. Well, if they had, you could have your CRM set up to flag when a client is charged less or more than they usually are per month. It would also let the employee easily access data on how much a particular service usually costs, and how much a client usually pays, which would make mistakes like the one described above much more rare. What is especially great about marketing automation is that it allows for a single employee to perform numerous administrative tasks with a few simple clicks of the mouse. Even those who are not technologically inclined will find marketing automation easy to pick up on.
  2. Organisation
    Another great aspect of marketing automation is that it allows your small business to become highly organised, thus reducing the chances of any slip-ups from happening due to missed deadlines or meetings with important clients. Everything can be compiled into one area so that you don’t have to use multiple programs or platforms to view schedules or invoices, and everyone’s calendars can be synced together. This is especially useful if you are accustomed to keeping scheduling down on paper or in notebooks that can get lost easily. Also, if a problem does arise with a client you can quickly and easily track where a particular invoice or meeting took place through your CRM platform.

If you’re looking to improve on the way you deliver customer service, you can’t go wrong with marketing automation. Because shifting to automation doesn’t just help your clients; it helps your business, too. It helps you keep better track of everything that’s going on underneath you, it helps you improve your ROI on marketing campaigns, and it helps everyone work together more productively and efficiently. That’s why more businesses than ever before are shifting to CRM platforms.