So, you did everything you could and the order still went bad. What now? You followed the steps of working in a busy season: Spent time being available for your customer, sold what is available, sold the right brands, checked on your product early and brought in the right people to help. The Pain of Back to School Season
But the customer is still upset and you feel like you have done all you can. What should you do?
Let the customer vent
Let them talk to you about their frustration. Initiate the call and listen. I hate this part. I want to tell them everything about how the order was out of my control and we have done everything we can. But, instead you need to listen. If they give you a chance to talk and seem to want to hear about the order, give them a concise summary of what happened. Don’t drone on about it. Be specific.
Understand what they are going through
Most of the orders we do are for teams or business. When you get an order, it is typically from the person who collected all the orders from the players, parents, coworkers. So, when an order goes bad your point person is hearing complaints from many people.
What can you do to make it right?
Big question: what can you do to make it right? Sometimes, there is not an answer to this. But, if there is something you can think of (free replacement product, additional product, discount on next order) recommend it to your customer to see what they think.
Relationships must endure
You must salvage relationships when orders go bad and the customer is not happy. Not always will you be able to replace that business, but even if you can, there are reasons to “make it right”:
- Customers will talk. If you leave a customer with a bad experience (your fault or not) they will talk with friends, co- workers, teammates, family and anyone else they encounter.
- The customer will continue to reach out and get you to make it right. Phone calls, emails and online reviews. This will take up more of your time and energy. I am always willing to take a loss on an order to make it right for the customer. But also, make it right so not to have to spend any more energy and time on it. If you are like me, an unhappy customer will bother you and continue to bother you until it is fixed.
- If you lose a customer, you need to find a new customer. The energy output in sales is getting a customer to purchase from you. You spend a lot of time “training” them (to order on time, order product you can deliver, send you orders in an organized fashion, etc), so you might as well try to salvage the relationship with the current customer.
I call it firing a customer. Some customers are bad for business. As you gain experience, you learn to recognize those customers before you get to deep into an order with them. But, even if you realize what you are working with, it’s still often tempting to move forward even though you have a bad feeling about a situation. Often, the sale is a larger one and it is tempting to go down the rabbit hole. So, if you move forward you need to set your boundaries:
- Optimize the situation. You know what you can deliver and the best way to do it. Don’t let the customer tell you what you must do. If you can’t do it, it is better to head it off right away than tell them right before they realize you can’t meet their deadline.
- Document well. I always request most correspondence to be done on email. If an order does not work out to the customers expectations, the first thing they will do is blame a discussion you had on the phone. They will tell you how they told you in person or on the phone. If you do have a discussion on the phone, it is best to follow up with an email of what you discussed.
Learn from your mistakes
What went wrong? How can you avoid it? Did you check on the product early enough or did you just get busy and forget it? Maybe you need to be creating a list Account Management . Don’t just move on but instead analyze what you did and how you can avoid it in the future.
Following these steps will allow you to retain more of your customers when orders go bad. In turn, you will get more referrals and be on your way to being a Million Dollar Sales Reps or more!