December 13th, 2016
As an experienced customer service provider, you have most definitely heard this little six-word chestnut: “I’m taking my business somewhere else!” It’s usually yelled after you have spent twenty minutes trying to help them with questions about their purchase.
When you were an employee for a large retail company experiencing customer dissatisfaction (though emotionally draining) didn’t phase you when it came to the bottom line: they could take their business somewhere else, what did it matter?
It’s a little different when you’re the owner of a small business and a customer is screaming that and other profanities at your team. You don’t mind losing their business, quite frankly you don’t want your staff having to deal with individuals like that. But what if that customer takes it a step further, and their interaction with your establishment goes viral? Don’t worry, if anything should happen, professional liability insurance will cover you.
Drama at the Front Desk
How prospective customers hear about your business could have lasting effects on its success. With smartphones giving people the opportunity to record and publish videos, a nasty customer interaction could gain massive traction.
There is the young woman causing a scene at the store front lobby, yelling that she has been discriminated against. An older, sweater-vest wearing man causes a raucous at a well-known coffee shop. These once unrecorded disturbances that only the customers and sales staff had to experience are now being uploaded for viral views daily on the internet.
It’s clear from the videos that the two ranting individuals were in the wrong. They were disrespectful to the staff and made surrounding customers uncomfortable. It’s up to you to correct what happened.
The Customer Isn’t Always Right
When a video goes viral, for better or worse, you will need to refocus your efforts on “proactive customer experience management.” ReviewTrackers writes that customer experience must be “memorable, flawless and relevant. Businesses that are passionate about service and product will seldom have to face a crisis associated with a negative [experience] gone viral.”
As part of your business plan, you and your management team will need to devise a customer service strategy that accounts for customer checkpoints and end-satisfaction. A customer is most angry when they believe their voice has not been heard. Help the customer to understand that they have been heard, and that you will do what you can to right the situation. This does not mean rolling over and letting the customer get away berating your staff. Instead, address the negative feedback and publicity and discuss what was gained of the experience, and how such acts of malice are not representative of your establishment or your employees. After decrying the behavior, show your full support to your staff. When the customer is wrong, they are wrong, full stop.
This might make you fearful of losing more customers, it shouldn’t. Reputation is a major player in the business world. When it is seen that you did what was right, even if it meant losing business, customer will see you as a stand-up and respectable business person, and they’ll continue doing business with you.
If an all-out fearsome customer takes you to court for the actions of your company, it’ll all be okay. Your professional liability insurance policy will cover business interruption costs and your litigation fees. You won’t lose.
Visit CoverHound for more small business insurance information and affordable quotes.