Even with the best of intentions to provide clients with an outstanding experience, disputes arise. While it may boil down to a misunderstanding, the fact is that resolving client issues is something that comes with the territory when running a spa or massage practice. Client disputes also are something staff needs to know how to handle. That’s because data indicates that for every customer that bothers to complain, 26 others remain silent. That means clients, even some with whom you have long-standing relationships, may take their business elsewhere, and you never know why. On the other hand, resolve a complaint in favor of a customer, and they will do business with you 70 percent of the time.
However uncomfortable it may be to deal with a client who is unhappy over the results of a massage, for example, or with an at-home product that didn’t perform as expected, far better that clients air their grievances and allow you to resolve them. The issue should never be about “being right” but about “making things right” for the client, advises Help Scout in “How to Talk To Your Angriest Customer.” Here are a few suggestions to work out disputes with clients to resolve issues and maintain positive ongoing relationships.
Look past the fury for friction
A client may be so irate that you think they have blown an issue way out of proportion. Yet, no matter how angry someone seems, it doesn’t mean the argument is without merit. As Help Scout points out, “Complaints, even angry ones, can contain insight – it’s your job to seek out the friction.” It’s key to get to the bottom of the problem so that you know how to effectively deal with the issue and avoid the problem next time. It may also turn out that the feedback is instructive in fixing a problem other clients may be experiencing but haven’t spoken up about.
Treat customers with genuine respect
Everyone wants to be treated with respect, and it’s essential to do this when a client is upset. Being insincere or condescending about resolving an issue is not showing respect. You and your team want to respond to clients with a genuine regard for a client’s well-being by being genuinely helpful.
Carpe Diem to resolve complaints
Help Scout refers to best practices that focus on four key points to resolve complaints put forth by Robert Bacal. The points are Control, Acknowledge, Refocus, and Problem Solve.
Take control of the situation with language that says that you are ready to find a resolution. Acknowledge the client’s concerns and show understanding. Refocus from the client’s emotions to finding a solution. Solve the problem and make sure that the client is happy with the resolution.
When dealing with frustrated and unhappy clients, the goal is always to get to the bottom of the problem and find a resolution. You may have a client or more than one who is never satisfied or makes unreasonable demands on you and your staff. Under those circumstances, you’ll need to decide if the relationship is worth continuing. But in most cases, clients are reasonable and want someone to listen to them. The time you invest in the unhappy client will be worth it in the long run. Turning clients from angry to advocates mean continued business and potential referrals.