When dealing with an unhappy customer, you want to avoid giving refunds. What should you do instead to try to solve the issue?
Refunds are the punishment for negative customer interactions. By returning money, you’re not only negating the original sale, but you are leaving the customer with a negative taste in his or her mouth for your company. They’ll remember their interaction with you as one that didn’t solve its purpose. Refunds are also bad for your bottom line. So what can you do when a customer demands a refund?
- It helps to have your refund policy clearly laid out in your contract or terms of services. It’s the first step to avoiding refunds ever needing to take place, and it also establishes trust—your clients will enjoy knowing that if something goes wrong, they do have a course of action they can take. Then, you can point to a clear place where you noted the time frame and conditions of refunds. Obviously, refunds should be handled on a case-by-case basis—if someone misses the window for a refund by a day or two, it would probably be best to just let it slide and save the relationship.
- First and foremost, try to solve the problem calmly without losing anything. Ask what it is they’re unhappy with and see if it happens to be an easy fix. Oftentimes, upset customers just want to be listened to and affirmed, and their issues aren’t actually that hard to handle.
- Next, offer additional services thrown in as freebies. If you were able to fix the issue, it’s better to offer comped services instead of returning the original money spent. For instance, if you’re a graphic designer and a client happened to be unhappy with its logo, after talking it over and figuring out what changes need to be made, make those changes for free or at a discounted price. You could also consider throwing in social media icons as a bonus. Just make sure you solve the dilemma first so you’re not making the same mistakes!
- Consider giving the dissatisfied customer a coupon or a certificate for a future discount. Giving clients a 25 percent off coupon code will make them feel as if they got money back even if they didn’t.
- Lastly, know when to throw in the towel. Some customers will be so unhappy that the only way to appease them is to give their money back—and that’s a cost of doing business. Take it as a lesson and move forward. However, if someone is making outrageous demands—like attempting to return a product he or she bought a year ago—hold firm. You don’t want to regularly do business with people who feel as if they can get whatever they want.
Source: Claire Swinarski