September 12, 2012
Filed under: Tip of the Day
This month’s Advantages cover story “Mad As Hell” provides expert analysis and advice on how to manage angry clients. Ever had to deal with a screamer, steamer or somewhere in-betweener? Then this article should not be missed!
Also as a sidebar, seven client-retention tips from the experts … enjoy!
- Listen to your customers; let them vent, says Promo Biz Coach Rosalie Marcus. Determine if what they’re saying makes sense, and if it’s reasonable, and then offer solutions or alternatives.
- Distinguish between a bad client and a difficult client. A bad client is constantly complaining, giving you very little business and even fewer referrals, she notes. A difficult client may be demanding and have high standards, but pays on time and gives you continued business. Focus on making the difficult client happy, work hard but within reason, and cut your losses on the bad client.
- Have organized systems in place. This is especially important with demanding customers. “Get to them before they get to you,” Marcus says. Spell out dates and what will happen at specific times. Keep the client in the loop. Provide exact specifications, lots of samples and tracking numbers.
- Nurture the relationship. Remind the client of what you can do, especially if there is a problem.
- Follow-up is paramount to success. Marcus recommends every sales rep follow up after every order to make sure the customer was happy. This can help a rep avoid losing clients without ever knowing they were unhappy. If the client does tell you there was a problem, contact the supplier and see if there’s anything you can do, or ask the client what they’d like you to do to fix it. Sometimes it’s not possible to do what the client asks, but she suggests the rep say, “This is what I CAN do.”
- Send tracking numbers with the date of when items will ship. Marcus says many reps get frantic calls from clients saying an order hasn’t arrived, but it turns out John in receiving signed for it but neglected to tell the rep it arrived. Providing tracking numbers calms customers down.
- Track communications with your supplier. Distributors often get mad at suppliers when things don’t go well. Avoid this by keeping track of every communication with your supplier. Keep a paper trail of every person you speak with along the way as well as the progress of the order.