How to Communicate With an Unhappy Customer

At one time or another, something goes wrong in a business transaction.  Maybe before you even realize it, you are contacted by an unhappy customer.  When a customer comes to you with a complaint, it’s easy to get defensive.  They may be angry, but it is important to hear them out to gain an understanding of the situation.  The key to resolving the situation is communication. Communication can turn an unhappy customer into a happy customer or at least into a satisfied customer that understands and feels understood.


It’s important that if your customer is unhappy, you acknowledge their feelings. Even if you don’t agree with them, you can still empathize with them.  They want to know that their feelings are heard. That’s the most important thing. If you try to convince them they are wrong about a situation before you acknowledge their feelings, they may feel that their concerns aren’t important to you.


The next thing is to explain the situation. Sometimes a customer is unhappy because they don’t understand all the details. They don’t understand the business’ side of things. They only understand their side of things. If something is delayed, if things aren’t working right, just communicate that to them. Whatever it is, tell them why the problem is happening. If they understand what is causing the problem, they’re more willing to understand and be patient with you.


Acknowledge them, communicate your side of the story so that they understand, and then always apologize, even if you did nothing wrong. Taking the time to say, “I’m sorry you’re feeling that way,” goes a long way into fixing the damage. When a customer is unhappy, the business relationship is damaged.  A damaged relationship can cause a customer to go to a competitor. 


Besides an apology, the customer wants to know that you are going to make things right.  Correct what you can with the situation at hand and make a plan so that it won’t happen in the future.  When clients know that you are willing to step up to the plate and fix the mistakes that happen, they are usually willing to forgive and forget.


Take the time to communicate with those customers who are unhappy, and very often you can turn that customer from an unhappy customer to a lifelong customer.  They are more likely to stay with you if they know that you’re going to take the time to understand them and communicate with them, even if things don’t always go right. If a client feels they are treated fairly, they may become your biggest advocate, despite the problem they experienced.


If you need help, if you’re in a situation where you don’t know what to say to an unhappy customer, please contact us at Touch Your Client’s Heart. We can help you strategize the right words to say, the right things to include in your statement so that your customers will understand and they will feel heard and acknowledged.

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