We all dread those moments. The phone rings in the office, and you pick up to find a particularly disgruntled client on the line. It can be the ultimate test of your patience and sanity, but it’s important to understand, as a business leader, that those moments are to be expected.
It is impossible to keep every client happy all the time, and your business is bound to fall into a few potholes as it begins to develop and discover itself.
These potholes will lead to disgruntled clients, but it’s your job to appease these clients and ensure you are saying the right thing to calm the situation and keep them invested in your company – especially as a B2B company that thrives on existing clients over newcomers.
With this in mind, there are certain things you should never say if you want to avoid losing disgruntled customers. As a business leader, it is likely that you already know the most obvious ones, but it is essential that you refresh your memory and relay the information to your team – who will be experiencing those clients on the front line.
Here are five particular phrases you should keep underwraps to ensure you do not lose a client with a single phone call:
The big one. But probably the phrase you will want to say immediately. Nevertheless, telling a client to calm down immediately gives the impression that you don’t believe there is an adequate reason for them to be worked up. News flash: there very well might be.
As a fully operating company, you are likely utilising all of your b2b communication channels, but face-to-face (or ear-to-ear) communication ultimately gives you the best indication of client sentiment. Listen to their concerns, let them vent, keep your own inflection calm, and a solution will be found for the issue.
“I’m Not Sure”
While this is not a particularly bad phrase to use, it should always be avoided whilst on the phone to a client. As a successful B2B company – that is actively trying to achieve loyalty – you are likely using your marketing channels to show that you are experts in your trade.
Being an expert and ensuring you know all the terminologies and exactly what the clients are looking for, you should never give an indication that you are “unsure” about a certain query. Especially if there’s no follow up. If you are truly stumped about what might have gone wrong, simply tell them that you’re “going to find out” and do it immediately. This will at least retain the image that you are the experts and, although you are struggling to pinpoint an issue, you are doing everything you can to resolve the issue there and then.
Ever wondered why the customer is always right? It is because happy customers mean loyal customers and more spending for your business. Telling your client that they are wrong – even if they might be – is never a good route to go down. That’s not to say you cannot protect your business if you believe you are in the right, however.
Instead, you need to focus on other phrases such as “miscommunication” or “honest mistake”. These are far less confrontational and will bring you a step further to solving the issue. Remember, 70% of clients end their loyalty with an organisation because they felt they were treated rudely. Saying “you’re wrong” will only rile up a client and risk losing them forever.
“You’re Through To The Wrong Person, Let Me Put You On Hold”
This is specifically for small-business leaders – or those who are at the top of the chain. It can be easy to get comfortable with your own job and leave the problems with clients to your employees. Bad move.
As a small business, your team is probably small too, so everyone has a part to play in securing the most important part of the business: your clients. If you know you can help, do not pass the task on to someone else. The client has got through to you, so you are the person who has to deal with the problem and help them to find a resolution.
“We Can’t Do That”
Lastly, always make sure the call ends with a resolution. As a business, there should be nothing you can’t do to help a client. The reason this is important is because as many as 95% of customers will share a bad experience with others – with 45% sharing their negative experience on social media.
This means that, by failing to solve the issue, you are risking the loss of that client and damage to your existing marketing channels. Acquiring new customers is still important as a B2B company, and refuting a client will only strain your ability to do this. Make sure the call ends with a positive resolution and you will find yourself in a much better position with that client and all the potential clients that you are looking to attain.