3 Keys to Restoring Customer Confidence

April 19, 2016

Burke Alder

Customer Success Strategist

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Challenging customer situations are bound to arise at your company – maybe even on a daily basis. Whether your customer is upset about a product issue, there was an problem with billing, or implementation isn’t going as smoothly as it should, there’s no way to completely prevent challenges. And the larger your organization or more complex your offerings, the more challenges your team will encounter.

According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, a dissatisfied customer will tell an average of 9 -15 people about his or her experience with your company. With today’s technology, consumers are communicating at a much faster pace, using technology that enables them to share their thoughts and even communicate their opinions to companies directly.

Restoring Customer Confidence

How should your customer success managers mitigate these situations and help resolve them quickly while restoring customer confidence in your company?

Restoring customer confidence in your company depends largely on developing an approach that can be used across all customer success managers (CSMs) or those supporting customer growth. The goal is to handle the challenging situation in a way that leaves the customer with a positive impression of your company. If you’re fortunate, you may even encourage him or her to serve as a passionate advocate for your brand in the future.

In this post, we’ll explore 3 ways your CMS team and your company can restore customer confidence after a challenging situation:

1. Empathize With the Customer

Once your CSMs have listened to their concern, it’s important for them to immediately empathize with the customer’s position to create a bond so that they know their concern has been heard and their situation is understood. When empathy is present, the customer knows that your company is going to work with them to resolve the issue.

Making an apology to customers after things go wrong is positively related to satisfaction with restoring the customer relationship. When a CSM apologizes to a customer either for themselves or on behalf of the company or another department, they convey politeness, courtesy, concern, effort, and empathy – all of which go a long way. Consider the following stats:

  • Gallup research has shown that a genuine apology can actually strengthen a customer’s emotional bond to a company, leaving him or her more emotionally connected than customers who never experienced a problem.
  • Research by TARP has shown that when an apology is perceived as genuine, customer satisfaction increases 10 – 15%.

Offer your customers a heartfelt apology during a challenging situation and your CSM will not only restore customer confidence and regain goodwill, but your company will also realize the benefits of a strengthened customer relationship.

2. Have a Positive Attitude

Certainly, anyone in the position of interacting with customers must be friendly, helpful, polite, courteous, and flexible. These attitudes and behaviors are not just nice, but they are expected – especially of leaders in customer success. But when it comes to problem solving specifically, employee politeness while addressing the issue helps diffuse the problem in the customer’s mind.

When customers feel like they are being treated with respect, dignity, and sensitivity by employees, they feel a sense of justice and fairness from the company. As simple as it may sound, a positive attitude is a tangible asset that can significantly impact customer confidence and satisfaction. If a CSM solves the customer’s issue, but are rude or indifferent in the process, it can still negatively impact the relationship. Simply put, when your customer success team members are courteous and approach each and every situation with a positive attitude, customers will experience more satisfaction and reward your company with stronger loyalty.

3. Treat the Situation With Urgency

Not only is resolving the customer’s problem important, but a speedy response will enhance the customer’s view on the CSM as well as your company as a whole. Your CSM team needs to be equipped with the trust (from the executive team), empowerment, and training to be able to resolve problems internally across other departments if needed, or on the first phone call or first visit to the customer.

Not only does a speedy resolution improve the customer’s perception of the company, but it actually has a greater impact on loyalty than the resolution itself. TARP, Inc. found that 95% of complaining customers would remain loyal if their complaint was resolved on the first contact. That number dropped down to 70% when the complaint was not immediately resolved.

But what happens if your CSM or management team can’t supply a resolution right away, or don’t have the answer? It’s still important that they respond to the customer immediately and let them know the steps they are taking to remedy the situation, or what conversations they’re having internally. The longer it takes for your company to provide a full resolution, the greater the customer’s perception is that they have been treated unfairly. Improve your company’s ability to handle problems quickly and well and you’ll undoubtedly realize increases in customer confidence, satisfaction and loyalty.

How Does Your Company Restore Customer Confidence When Things Go Wrong?

When things go wrong, how do your CSMs handle customer interactions? Do you have a process in place so your customer success team can work quickly and effectively to restore customer relationships – and maybe even improve the relationship in the process?

Check out our resources below for more customer success best practices and insights for how your organization can always ensure the customer is at the center:

eBook:

5 Ways to Surprise & Delight Your Customers

3 Steps to Putting Customers First

Blog Posts:

The Golden Rule of Customer Success: 8 Guiding Principles

6 Listening Techniques of Great Customer Success Leaders

Learn more about how ClientSuccess can help your company develop a strong Customer Success methodology and strategy with easy-to-use customer success software by requesting a 30-minute demo.

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