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How to REBUILD Trust From Former Clients

It is a fact of business ownership applicable to any industry. Clients will truly come and go – and it is difficult to count on any one person as your primary source of income, no matter how high the bill.

It is a fact of business ownership applicable to any industry. Clients will truly come and go – and it is difficult to count on any one person as your primary source of income, no matter how high the bill. Sometimes it is a matter of relocation on the part of the client; however, in other instances, a client decides to take his or her business elsewhere as a result of a falling out between you and that client. There is a good chance that the resulting situation was not your fault. Some clients are unhappy regardless of the great lengths you go to in order to provide the best customer service experience possible. Or, perhaps the situation could be attributed to human error – your human error. Regardless of circumstance, an important business practice is to make an attempt to mend fences with that client – for a variety of reasons. Income is the most obvious; however, an unhappy client is a risk to your reputation. In the age of social media and Yelp, word of mouth now spreads at the speed of light. Here are a few tips to help you rebuild that client relationship – and, with any luck, stop that client from spreading untrue facts about you and your business.

Reach out personally.It is in poor practice to have an employee reach out to an unhappy customer – especially if that employee is part of the issue or does not know the back story behind the situation. The “buck stops” with you – and you should handle the outreach to this client. If approached correctly, the client will be impressed that you took time out of your seemingly busy schedule to make amends.

Pick up the phone.We may live in the age of email, text and social media communication, but the phone is not completely outdated. A phone call also speaks to your taking the time to actually speak to the client and adds a more personal touch.

Make an offer that can’t be refused.The term “service recovery” refers to offering – within reason – a special perk or, to use the slang word, a “freebie” for that unhappy client. While such a practice is not immediately beneficial to your bank account, it will turn out that way in the long run if you earn the client back. Give a coupon, offer a free service…there are many options depending on your type of business and industry.

Focus on the benefits of your business– not the competition. Verbally defacing your competition – where the hypothetical unhappy client possibly went for substitute goods or services – will not help you. It will only allow you to appear bitter and will not help your reputation.

 

Once the client has agreed to return, be prepared to go above & beyond to meet his or her needs.This tip speaks for itself. Maintenance of clients is equally as important – if not more important – than earning the client back initially. Business owners who go above and beyond in today’s working world are few and far between, and if you fit into that category, you are a standout. These tips just point out a few essentials to remember when trying to earn back a client’s trust and salvage your reputation. Always be on the lookout for new ideas – it is possible we have not thought of them yet.