Being in the line of fire of some very unhappy patrons can feel stressful and unsatisfying, especially if there is little time to manage. Coming up with an immediate solution when facing an unhappy customer is not easy, and often leave you feeling helpless. Misplaced delivery items, or damaged products often lead to upset customers. These type of situations often demand quick and reliable solutions. So how can you respond?
At the time it may feel as if there is no viable solution, but you can still improvise by trying an approach that not only helps the customer with their perception of the situation but also come up with acceptable alternatives. Here are some practical tips:

The  service recovery paradox

Lets face it, whether its technical issues or the rush of holiday shopping, mistakes do happen. Customers get upset and dealing with that part of the job may seem frustration and fruitless. But this creates an opportunity for improvement in your companys customer structure. If a complaint is dealt with, recoveries are made and you earn a loyal future patron. This is dubbed the service recovery paradox, a term first used by Sundar Bharadwaj and Michael McCollough.

Customers appreciate a good response, they want to know if your company cares about their issues and complaints. Tweaking your product delivery according to the issues and errors can create a loyal fan-base for your company and earn you the trust of your customers.

Fixing problems when there’s no easy solution

It might not always be possible to offer an easy solution to problems, but that is not your only job. Instead you can create new options and make customers understand that you are on their side . Here are a few tips:

  1. Dont forget the basics

Being polite and respectful can help you go a long way. Try dealing with problems upfront and quickly instead of avoiding confrontation. Pay attention to the customer . Go over their main issues and offer a valid alternative if possible.
Make it easy for customers to contact you and get information about the damaged products or late deliveries. Stalling only aggravates the problem.

2. Start from a place of empathy

When dealing with customer problems, Empathise. Put yourself in their shoes and see what the real problem is. Read between the lines. Instead of getting defensive over what the complaint is or blaming the customers, try finding a solution. Or at the very least understand and offer support, because that is how you resolve an issue.
Communication is the key to good customer service. Listen to what they have to say and then resolve the problem by either help through simple empathy or taking it a step further and presenting a new action. You can do this by letting customers know the viable options or let them choose an alternative considerable course.

3. Apologize like you mean it

Sometimes there isnt an actual solution to the issues. According to nicereply reports , customer satisfaction increased by approximately 40 percent when a genuine apology was offered instead of just an alternative. The apology should be genuine. You should make the statement in accordance with the actual problem, instead of a perfunctory apology. The two main points here are : Specified apology and followed Action.

4. Experience engineering: Focus on what you can do

Just because there is no viable solution, doesnt mean you cannot help improve how the customer feels about it. Your positive response can leave a customer much more calm even if the issue hasnt been solved.
Experience engineering uses three techniques to mold the conversation:
LANGUAGE: focus on staying positive regardless of what the issue is.
ADVOCACY:. Advocacy: show empathy. Show the customer that you are on the same side.
ANCHORING:  Lead the customer to a positive solution. Instead of saying that is not possible that the moment, try anchoring them to an alternative that they would prefer. Be creative. Come to a solution that is agreeable to both your company and the patron. A straight negative response would lead to a very unhappy and unsatisfied customer, whereas a quick improvised but agreeable solution can benefit both parties.

5. Don’t default to refunds

As easy as it may sound, a quick refund offer to unhappy customers is not always the best solution. Most often when a person gets a broken product, they expect a working alternative, not their money back. Try to resolve the issue first. See if you can find an agreeable option. See if the problem can be fixed.
By judging the situation , you can offer a refund if necessary and by request also. Find a way that is beneficial to both the customer and the company. Sometimes its worth it to lose a few bucks for now to gain a better reputation in the future.

A system for helping upset customers

Combining all the above factors into one response is the final step. Before starting your day, you can practice different basic scenarios , situations and pre-written response yo the problems. That can help you stay calm under pressure and focus on helping customers in a positive way . the basics can be summarized by this tip Starbucks baristas use:

  • Listen
  • Acknowledge the problem
  • Take action
  • Thank them, and
  • Explain what you’ve done

Fix the problem for future customers

Sometimes the situation cannot be helped. Customers leave unsatisfied and the company loses its patron. But that doesnt mean thats all , there is a lesson to be learned for the future. Identify the problem and note it for future reference and solutions. All in all, it does help to be prepared for the future expectations .