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Customer Service 101: Four ways to keep customers happy

Customer Service 101: keep customers happy

No matter how well you do, unhappy customers crop up from time to time. Sometimes, they may not technically be correct, but your business rests on their happiness. Take the higher ground, and direct the conversation toward a “happy ending” by following these four tenets of customer service-centered wisdom.

1. Have a solution before addressing the problem.

Even if your business is not at fault for your customers' problems, you need them to be happy with your products and customer service. Take the time to create a set of policies for how you will address general problems (that are not product-related) before issues arise.

For example, you may want to implement one of these solutions.

  • Offer a refund or credit if the customer has a stated reason for the problem, such as buyer's remorse within 14 days of purchase.
  • Provide assistance or a discount on shipping costs for a replacement product.

You should also, consider the deadlines and needs of your customers. Your solutions should be time-sensitive and reflect positively on your business. This is at the core of every refund policy in existence.

2. Showcase your knowledge, not arrogance.

As a small-business owner, you understand your products and services better than anyone else. Still, it’s important that your customers don’t feel belittled or uneducated. Instead of emphasizing your “right-to-control” your business, let your passion sparkle in your tone. If a problem arises with a product, how can you fix it? How can you work with the customer to figure out what went wrong?

Ask questions, and don’t be afraid to connect with customers beyond the typical customer-business experience. If you educate customers on your products or services, your confidence and knowledge will help you and your customers understand what happened  — and how to avoid future problems. This can also propel word-of-mouth advertising for your business.

3. Listen carefully.

Most unhappy customers just want to vent and have someone listen. Sometimes, they don’t specifically identify their problem, and you have to figure out what they need and expect. Carefully listen to the customer’s complaints, problems, and hopes for resolution. This will help you figure out how you can remedy the issue, so you can take back control of the situation.

4. Explain your solution.

Offering a refund is great, but refunds don’t necessarily encourage customers to return to your business. Focus on going beyond a stereotypical refund, and give an unhappy customer something more. This could include a discount on a future purchase, assistance with learning how to properly use your product, or free delivery on the next purchase. Each solution is unique, and your explanation is the only chance you have to foster a long-term relationship with a customer.

We all make mistakes, and business owners are no exception. Fortunately, you have the power to control the future of your business. Use these four tenets of amazing customer service, and you can turn a negative customer-experience into a positive asset for your business.  

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