Communicating with customers is generally viewed to be a positive experience. As a business, it’s essential for you to listen to customers and build relationships with them. However, any time that you have customers, you will occasionally receive complaints or have to deal with delivering bad news.
Delivering bad news to customers is not an easy task, but the ability to do so, and keep the customer, is an essential skill for any leader. Communicating unfavorable things may include letting a customer know that an unfortunate situation has occurred, a mistake was made, a product is no longer available, or any number of other unfavorable things. No matter what type of bad news it is, it needs to be delivered with empathy and professionalism. Learn strategies for delivering bad news to customers and how to use those opportunities for business growth.
Why is there an auto parts shortage?
Microprocessors, seating foam, and plastics were all affected by pandemic shutdowns and production cuts over the last year. Additionally, the rising costs of some raw materials, including steel and copper, have also reduced production for some manufacturers. These shortages have been pitted against low-interest rates and rising demand from consumers, further exacerbating the situation.
Communicate Well With Customers
It’s probably not a surprise to hear that customers, and customer satisfaction, are key to moving forward and growing your business. The customer experience encompasses every interaction a customer has with your business, including times when you have to deliver bad news.
What happens when a car part you ordered for a customer is not available for several months? How do you tell a customer who came in for an oil change that they need extensive car repairs? In the automotive industry, services don’t always go as expected, parts get delayed, cars get recalled, and a multitude of other situations can occur that all lead to the same conclusion, having to break the bad news to a customer. How you treat your customers, even during these difficult moments, will greatly define who you are as a business.
Four Strategies for Delivering Bad News
Bad news is unavoidable, but there are strategies for delivering the message with compassion and keeping customers satisfied.
1. Be Proactive
Tell the customer as soon as you foresee a potential problem. Your customer will appreciate it if you let them know as soon as possible that a part could be delayed or that there is potentially a long wait time for a service order. These proactive behaviors can go a long way in preventing a customer from becoming upset.
Even if you aren’t able to tell a customer ahead of time, never delay in communicating bad news when it arises. Reporting regularly and keeping a customer informed throughout the process will also help prevent situations from escalating out of control.
2. Be Prepared
When delivering bad news, it’s essential to have a full understanding of the situation and come to the conversation as prepared as possible. Customers are likely to feel like a situation is unfair, and conversations can quickly escalate as customers become angry and emotional.
Think about how the customer may react to the bad news and try to have as much information as is available. It may help to script out some of the information that you want to communicate, making sure to address the steps that are being taken in response and how the situation will be handled moving forward. To diffuse the situation, the person delivering the message needs to maintain control, and the more you prepare for these conversations, the easier they will be to address.
3. Take Responsibility
Disclose all the relevant information and resist placing blame on others. Customers will react positively when they see a brand that takes responsibility for its own outcomes. No matter how angry a customer gets, it’s important to remain friendly, show empathy, and stay focused on solving the problem.
Part of taking responsibility is also providing a solution, a plan of action for how and when a situation may be resolved. Presenting solutions to a problem demonstrates to a customer that their issues are being addressed in a problem-solving way.
4. Follow Up
The conversation isn’t over once the bad news is delivered. Keep in touch with your customer, find out how they are dealing with the issue, and monitor any solutions that were implemented. Following up with customers reassures them that you are continuing to prioritize them and that you are committed to a satisfactory resolution of their problem.
As you are delivering bad news to customers, remember that in addition to what you say, how you say it can be just as important. Problems are inevitable, but communicating properly when delivering bad news can help customers know that they are valued and that your business is taking steps to resolve the issue wherever possible.
Your local Safeguard Advisor has the right products, services, and ideas to help you get and keep customers for your automotive business. Rely on Safeguard for personalized solutions that fit your unique business. Call 844-4CARBIZZ to get started.
- Delivering bad news to customers is an essential skill for any leader.
- The customer experience includes every interaction a customer has with your business, even when you have to deliver bad news.
- The ultimate guide to delivering bad news to customers includes learning strategies for delivering bad news with compassion and keeping customers satisfied.
- Deliver bad news by being proactive, being prepared, taking responsibility, and following up with customers.
- Safeguard has automotive marketing experts that can help drive your business success.