Customer communication methods may vary from business to business, but one thing remains: the same, poor communication could cost your business. Building long-lasting customer relationships and fostering business growth requires that organizations listen to their customers and learn the right way to connect with them.
While it would be nice if every customer interaction were a pleasurable experience, sooner or later, every business will have to face frustrated, upset, or angry customers. Delivering bad news to customers is not an easy task, but the ability to do so is essential to keep the customer. Learn strategies for communicating bad news to customers and how to use those opportunities for business growth.
Why are there supply chain shortages?
As the global economic recovery progresses, consumer demand continues to exceed capacity in both production and logistic networks. This combination of production shutdowns, a rising cost of raw materials, and a shipping network grappling with heightened volumes that are causing increasingly long shipping delays have resulted in supply chain shortages that are affecting every industry, with suppliers working hard to tackle the challenge.
Why Businesses Need to Deliver Bad News
Problems are inevitable, whether it’s letting a customer know that a mistake was made, rising prices, supply chain issues affecting product availability or delivery date, or any number of other unfavorable things. 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.
You may have heard the phrase, “it’s not what you say, but how you say it.” No matter what type of bad news it is, it needs to be delivered with empathy and professionalism, and in addition to what you say, how you say it can be just as important. Most businesses know that customers, and customer satisfaction, are key to moving forward and growing their business. The customer experience encompasses every interaction a customer has with your business, including those times when you have to communicate bad news.
Best Practices for Delivering Bad News
Although bad news is unavoidable, you can follow these best practices for delivering the message with compassion and keeping customers satisfied.
Bad news is not the kind of surprise anyone wants to receive, which means that as soon as you foresee a potential problem coming, you should tell the customer. Your customer will appreciate it if you let them know as soon as possible that a product is out of stock or that a service order has been delayed. This proactive communication can go a long way in preventing a customer from becoming upset.
If, for some reason, you aren’t able to tell a customer ahead of time, never delay in communicating bad news when it arises. Establishing regular contact and keeping a customer informed throughout the process will also help prevent situations from escalating out of control.
Customers will react more positively when they see a brand that takes responsibility for its own outcomes. That means disclosing all the relevant information as well as resisting placing blame on others. Part of taking responsibility is also providing a solution. Customers want to see a plan of action for how and when a situation may be resolved. Presenting solutions to a customer’s problem also demonstrates that their issues are being addressed proactively.
When delivering bad news, customers are likely to feel like a situation is unfair, and conversations can quickly escalate as they become angry and emotional. That’s why it’s essential to come to the conversation as prepared as possible with a full understanding of the circumstances.
It frequently helps to think about how the customer may react to the bad news and try to script out some of the information that you want to communicate. This may help to make sure you are able to address the steps that are being taken in response and how the situation will be handled moving forward.
It’s also important that the person delivering the message maintains control. Try to have as much information as is available because the more you prepare for these conversations, the easier they will be to address.
Keep the Conversation Going
Communication shouldn’t conclude once the bad news is delivered. Remember to keep in touch with your customer, find out how they are dealing with the issue, and monitor any solutions that were implemented. You might consider giving a goodwill offering to the affected customer, such as a discount on a future order or a freebie. How you treat your customers, particularly during these difficult moments, can greatly define who you are as a business. 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.
At Safeguard, we know that delivering bad news to customers is an essential skill for any leader. No matter how upset a customer gets, it’s important to remain friendly, show empathy, and stay focused on solving the problem. Your Safeguard Advisor has the right products, services, and ideas to help you manage and market your business. Rely on Safeguard to learn about your unique goals and then help you with personalized solutions. Call 855.778.3124 to get started.
- Problems are inevitable, but communicating properly when delivering bad news can help customers know that they are valued.
- The three best practices for delivering bad news to customers include being quick, being responsible, and being prepared.
- Remain friendly, show empathy, and stay focused on solving the problem.
- Rely on Safeguard to learn about your unique goals and then help you with personalized solutions.