Home | Columns and Articles | Yes, You Can Turn an Angry Client into Your Best Client!

Yes, You Can Turn an Angry Client into Your Best Client!

 In Columns and Articles

Can This Client be Saved?

Impossible you say. Can’t be done. Someone or something in your company may have screwed up royally. Your product simply failed to perform as promised. It was a complete disaster. The client is really angry. Never in a million years will you be able to do business with this organization again. There’s no going back this time. You’ve burned every bridge – big time!

Not So Fast:  Well, maybe not. The very first thing you need to do is to acknowledge that the customer has every right to be angry. It may or may not be your company’s fault, but in any event, it’s the customer’s perception that it is and that’s what is most important. So you can’t wait until the storm blows over. You must address it immediately and in person. You want to give the customer the opportunity to vent his or her anger. You need to understand what happened from his viewpoint. And above all, you have to stay calm, non-defensive, and sympathetic.

Understand the Anger:  You should listen very closely to where the anger is really coming from. It is extremely important that you understand the emotions that are driving the anger. The problem may be a technical issue or glitch, but what is really emotionally upsetting the customer? Is it a concern for safety or security that’s been compromised by your product? Is it fear that the customer’s organization may lose face with their constituents? Or is it the fact that the customer placed his trust in your organization and you have let him down? In his mind, you may have made him look bad in front of his peers and superiors for selecting your organization’s product. This can sometimes be the toughest reaction to overcome.

Restate the Problem: Once the customer has spent his fury, you need to calmly and simply repeat the problem in the exact terms he used. You have to acknowledge and affirm what has been communicated without any nuance or shading from you. Ask him to elaborate on specific issues. This will help to diffuse the anger and reassure the customer that you are truly listening and agreeing with his position. Here is where you can begin to turn the situation around. By drawing him out, you are supporting his grievance and are in complete accord with his side of the story.

Take Ownership of the Problem: In the scheme of things, it doesn’t matter what truly was the cause of the customer’s problem. His perspective is all that matters. What will be critically important is for you to take personal ownership of the problem. Don’t pass it off to someone or something else. You are the one the customer is looking to for redress. You represent your company to him and your action or lack thereof will be the biggest factor in your losing or retaining this customer. It isn’t enough to be sympathetic and empathetic. You need to demonstrate that you are in a position to take immediate action to rectify the problem and you won’t rest until the customer’s issue is resolved. This is called a “mea maxima culpa” and it can be a most powerful way to mend a broken relationship.

Find a Solution:  Here is where the rubber meets the road. There may or may not be an easy solution to the problem. What is most important is that you convey to the customer you will do everything in your power to provide him a solution as rapidly as possible. Let him know you and your team are working around the clock to fix what is broken. Just knowing that you are willing to go above and beyond for him will go a long way to rebuilding trust. The customer will feel that you are willing to be a champion for him and he will most likely remember this more than he remembers the product failure.

Keep in Touch:  Once you’re able to turn the corner with an angry customer you are well on your way to possibly making him the best customer you’ll ever have. He will remember how you went to bat for him and knows you’ll pull through for him in any future engagement. The best thing you can do is to keep in frequent contact, follow up with any solution your company provides, and simply let him know you’re there for him. So, yes you can turn your angriest client into your happiest client. You just have to know how.

© 2015 MBDi. All rights reserved.

About MBDi:
Founded in 1979, MBDi is a global Business Development services firm headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, providing expertise in Business Development best practices in the national security, defense, scientific, energy and engineering industries. MBDi’s mission is to transform our clients’ organizations and people into proven Business Development leaders by addressing the conditions and behaviors that assure positive culture change creating clear paths to professional success.

 

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

Sign up to receive Articles!


Contact Us

Thank you for your interest in MBDi. Please fill out the contact form below and one of our team members will be in touch with you shortly.

0
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • The different psychological profiles of BD Majors verses BD Minors
  • Criteria to evaluate personnel for a BD role
  • Why behavioral psychology is a critical knowledge competency for success in Business Development
  • The four distinctive BD roles and how to understand, assess and coach those individuals critical to revenue growth
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • The eight-element approach to turning around revenue growth
  • Critical components for a high performing BD organization
  • Is it possible to change the culture of a BD organization?
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • What a new BD culture incorporates
  • Why BD culture change produces a greater return on investment than strategy
  • How external catalysts are critical to changing BD culture
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • Why trust is important in developing business
  • Why a client engagement process mapped to a qualification/disqualification phase is necessary
  • The three early shaping environments impacting your revenue results
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • What the true ROI is for training and development investments
  • How installing a purpose-driven client engagement process impacts pipeline quality
  • Why to fund education, coaching and professional development for effective customer engagement thinking and skills
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • The missing link in most Business Development processes
  • What is HUMINT® and why it's a critical component in intelligence gathering
  • How credibility in BD is determined by the level and type of questions asked
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
Issue Paper:
  • Hiring retired senior military personnel for Business Development positions is a common practice in the Government Contracting industry. No matter how rational the custom of having retired military personnel call on their former subordinates now running government agencies or departments may seem, this scenario actually produces three troubling contradictions, one each from the individual, the corporation and the marketplace.
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • Key Indicators of Revenue Growth Stagnation or Contraction
  • Stovepipe to Strategic: Restructuring the Business Development Model
  • Steps for Implementation
  • Assess the Present State of a Business Development Organization
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • Indications of Business Development model problems
  • Business Development Strategy, Planning and Capabilities
  • Opportunity Identification & Qualification vs. The Crystal Ball.
  • Business Development Professionals vs. Door-Openers and Butterfly Catchers
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
Issue Paper:
  • Few positions have the success of an organization weighing upon them like those in Business Development.
  • Once the hiring decision is made, a substantial and long-term investment of time and finance is required to launch the individual to the point where they are building relationships, qualifying and shaping opportunities and building a pipeline.
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • Do You Need a Special Ops Team of Super Hunters for Your Organization?
  • Should You Stand Up a BD Strike Team?
  • Characteristics of a BD Strike Team Leader
  • Stand Up and Deliver: The Strategic Advantage
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • A proven Intel Gathering Strategy to fortify decision-making and drive revenue results
  • The difference between companies that make good “Pursuit/No Pursuit” decisions and those that don't.
  • The five stages of the Intelligence Cycle
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • Lifting a page from the small company Business Development playbook can be a game-changing strategy in this transformed environment.
  • Game-Changing Structure Strategy
  • The Case for Professional Development
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
Issue Paper:
  • Want to get inside your customer’s head and discover the real issues? Then go to the source and just ask!
  • Are you gathering Data or Source HUMINT ®
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
Issue Paper:
  • Determining Barriers & Overcoming Obstacles to Growing Revenue in a Recessionary Economy
  • Moving the Needle in Tough Times
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
In this White Paper you will learn:
  • Guidelines for leveraging products and services to international military/defense markets in Government Contracting.
  • Top Ten List for International Business Development Success in Government Contracting
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.