You Cannot Go Back and Make a Brand New Start, But You Can Start Now and Make a Brand New End!
Several times I´ve heard that it is worthless to invest time trying to recover a lost client. It takes too much energy and it can be more productive to reach two or three new clients than trying to undo the mistake with the unhappy one.
Maybe this approach is right considering the proper use of sales force´s energy? Letting the past be behind us and putting the wheels in motion again? Maybe we could even see positives results in the short term. Then we can bury the bitter episode and keep moving, right?
The problem with burying these nasty issues without facing the facts under our responsibility is they are going to bite us in the future again. Why? Because we´ll repeat actions in similar scenarios and we´ll have similar results. The problem still exists!
For that reason we have to take a pit stop to evaluate what could go wrong without the intention of looking guilty but to discover in what point we lost sight of the client´s expectations. A good starting point is making us as tough questions:
- Did we have a clear statement of our client’s expectations?
- Did we make a proper following of their request?
- Did we respond on time at any petition or complaint?
- Do we have any feedback system to know how are we perceived in the market?
- Does management know the strengths of your company or team?
- Are you using these strengths to impulse your efforts?
- There is an internal feedback to improve working process or methods?
- Do we have a system to “rescue” an unsatisfied client?
In my first job in a fast food company we were trained to recover unhappy customers. The reasons we had to act in that case were supported by statistics because an angry customer could lead to other 10 not going in because of a bad recommendation “don´t go there last time I had a problem…”
But a customer with a solved issue could bring you 10 new ones based in the same principle: “This is my favorite place because they help me the time that…”.
Even if a situation is not under our control (like an internal problem of the client) is an opportunity to straighten the sight and be aware of possible difficulties and elaborate a plan “in case of emergency”. In some cases we can even step ahead and have a backup plan to respond to our client needs or complaints. The issues under our control can be only a few and we can grieve for that or be grateful because is easier to handle those and act accordingly.
If we are facing a problematic situation already, severing the relationship is not the solution. Finding the common points and assuming our responsibilities is the first step building a path taking us from a bad start to a desired end.
Do you have a plan for these situations? Have you faced the challenge of recovering a client? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
Javier Dominguez – Design Professional
Gould Design, Inc.