Don’t Break Up – Make Up!

As a business owner you put a lot of energy into building relationships. You court prospects until they are ready to buy. Once they become a client, you serve them to the best of your ability and build camaraderie. These are the fun parts of the relationship – the times when you like each other.


Just like any other relationship, there are challenging times, too. (Think of the disagreements with your significant other or good friend.) At times when there are misunderstandings and mistakes it would be easy to let the relationship end and walk away. There may be clients with ongoing problems where it makes sense to part ways. Most of the time, it is worth it to do the hard thing and resolve the problems.


The key to working through problems with clients is to listen and understand before you defend. There are two sides to every story and each party wants to be heard. Once you understand, you can find a compromise that will keep both parties satisfied.


Sometimes you have to defend company policy. Explaining the reasons why you can’t make an exception will help clients understand. No one wants to hear that a company blindly adheres to policy without caring how it affects their customers.


Doing this work, while not in your job description, is crucial to the success of your business. Keeping a client costs far less than finding a new one. The goodwill you receive from being a company that listens to its clients is priceless.


Customers that leave angry are the most likely to tell others about their experience. People love to spread negative news. You are more likely to get negative publicity from a disgruntled former client than you are to get a testimonial from your biggest fan. Angry parties want to be vindicated. Satisfied clients don’t feel the need to tell anyone.


Salvaging a relationship may be painful and difficult, but it increases your income and saves you from bad press. It is also the right thing to do. It is good customer care. If you are interested in developing a company policy for dealing with mistakes and mishaps, watch for my new product: Client Retention Jumpstart: 5 Checklists to Create WOW Client Relationships. Included is the WOW – I’m Sorry Checklist to help you walk through the steps you need in that type of situation. It is launching in the beginning of June.

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