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  • AmosOnwukwe

    10 Proven Steps I Use to Win Back Angry Customers

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    Want to win back your angry customers ASAP like Akim my friend or stand akimbo and watch disappointed customers disappear with your money in their pockets?

    Meet Akim:


    Source: Whatsapp

    The above scenario mirrors the experience of many business owners, particularly those in competitive niches.

    They understand the value of a good customer and even the occasionally good customer, they know customer retention is 5x cheaper than customer acquisition.

    According to a Walker Study, 86 percent of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. The report also states that by 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

    Customer experience CX, is the customer’s perception of how your business treats them. The bad news, perception is subjective; sometimes no matter how you try some customers perception will always get in the way. To them customer delight is the amount of stress they are able to cause your Customer Service Reps.

    If you own or run a dropshipping ecommerce business, this becomes even more challenging because you do not see what your suppliers deliver to your customers on your behalf.

    This can lead to unpleasant experiences if customers get less than what they expect.

    Why Customers Get Upset

    Additionally, many online shoppers have good reason(s) to feel upset with your dropshipped products. Causes may include:

    • Delayed deliveries
    • Poor packaging
    • Damaged goods

    • Delayed returns/refunds

    • Overbilling

    • Poor service

    • Having to repeat complaints severally to different customer care reps

    • Failure to promptly address a wrong, and many more

    4 Reasons Why It Should Bother You

    You should be concerned. Lead nurturing takes time and effort; hence customer retention should be top priority. Consumer behaviour patterns indicate that customers are becoming pickier and choosier, thanks to:

    1. The Internet

    In 2016 there were over 3billion internet users worldwide, global internet access stood at 45 percent. What this means? Your target market can now access way more options straight from their phone inbox, social media feeds, bulk SMS etc.

    2. Competitors

    Improved internet access increases competition. Suddenly you’re competing with brands from other lands, most of which are online offering products or services similar to yours. Your competitor is now just one click away.

    3. Social Media

    People are now more connected than ever, Facebook has over 2 billion monthly active users. Part of what they discuss; their terrible customer experiences.

    Helpscout reports that there are over one million customer service related tweets daily, 80 percent of them negative.

    4. Word of Mouth

    Nothing spreads word of mouth like social media. Your screw up can go viral in minutes, get thousands of shares and appear as feeds in millions of social media accounts. You don’t want that.

    The New Customer Persona: Customer 2.0

    These days the customer is no longer just John, it includes those many others over whom John has significant influence, those who can either buy or fly based on John’s recommendation. And now John is upset with Akim!

    10 Proven Steps to Win Back Angry Customers

    When clients or customers are upset, aim to not only resolve, overcompensate in a way that they smile and reward you with repeat and incremental business.

    I have implemented these steps severally in my independent ecommerce consultancy business with Jumia and have recorded nearly 100% success rate.

    Here’s what I told Akim.

    1. Admit

    Do not play John Terry. As seller hold forte for the manufacturer as much as you safely can, even if your ToS says otherwise. Why win the case and lose the briefcase?

    You’ve got to own the 4 P’s

    • the product

    • the praise

    • the profit and

    • the problem

    If the complaint was made online, quickly investigate, admit if at fault and address ASAP. After fixing, encourage client to drop a kind word on same medium where the complaint was laid.

    American Express Survey reports that Americans tell an average of 9 people about good experiences, and 16 people about poor experiences.

    2. Apologize

    After admitting, I usually say stuff like “I’m really sorry about your experience, I’ve sold X units of Y in the last Z months without issues. Yours appears to be an exception”

    Where possible apologize with company branded SMS, email, real mail, a personal call or note from the CEO for smaller businesses will be awesome. It’ll make John feel special and hopefully prepare him for a comeback.

    3. Listen

    Given the right conditions, angry clients will vent. Listen actively, show understanding and empathy, nod occasionally, maintain eye contact if in person, lean forward toward client, express all that go-on-I’m-listening gestures, and take notes. It all shows you care and genuinely want to be of help.

    Provide toll free numbers or offer to call clients back if you mainly receive complaints over the phone. Reduce average hold time and average handling time if you use automated call centers, so they don’t feel you’re wasting their time.

    4. Explain

    Now that you’ve heard their complaints you need to explain or address it as much as you can. Give details why and how it happened if you have the information. Inform client of the processes involved in obtaining a redress mentioning approximate timelines involved. Never pass the buck, use “we” instead of “they”

    5. Retrieve/Rollback

    Retrieve the offending item ASAP in the case of a physical product or rollback service. The more they see the faulty product/service the angrier they are likely to get.

    6. Promise

    Promise to do your best to ensure issue is quickly resolved. As much as possible offer realistic timelines to keep hopes alive and strive to beat them, under promise and over deliver. Failure to meet promised deadlines will worsen an already bad situation.

    7. Praise

    Praise them for understanding. They probably worked 9 to 5, 20 days a month to save up, came a long way past a handful of competitors and did business with you before their bad experience. They reached out, complained and have agreed to wait 8 months till you fix it. That’s amazing.

    8. Update

    Update clients regularly. It keeps you on your feet and angry clients on their seats. It also reassures client that you’re doing your best to lay the matter to rest. They’ll likely let you know they appreciate your efforts.

    9. Compensate

    Make up for lost time or other utility derivable from the product or service. For service, you can offer a discount, free upgrade or both as compensation. Strive to deliver compensation within deadline, the earlier the better. If, however an extension is inevitable, client is likely to consent having seen your commitment to resolve issue.

    10. Demonstrate

    For physical products, demonstrate that the replacement is working perfectly before your delivery agents leave. Machines can be funny and the joke will be on you if after a long wait you still deliver a brand new faulty device.


    Finally, gift them a voucher or coupon, that way you’re saying come back next time and when they do you know you’ve won them back.


    • Admit when at fault

    • Apologize immediately

    • Listen attentively

    • Explain effectively

    • Retrieve/Rollback- ASAP

    • Promise economically

    • Praise lavishly

    • Update regularly

    • Compensate adequately and

    • Demonstrate accordingly…

    That’s what I told Akim and that's what I tell you now. How have you handled customer disappointment in the past?

    Author Bio:

    Amos Onwukwe is an AWAI trained B2B/B2C Copywriter and Digital Marketer featured in eCommerce Nation, eCommerce Insights, Understanding Ecommerce, Floship, Huffington Post among others.

    He is available here and on Twitter@amos_onwukwe

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