7 Ways to Prevent Unhappy Customers

Dealing with unhappy customers is never pleasant, and turning those frowns back into smiles is hard. The smartest way to troubleshoot unhappy customers is to prevent them in the first place.

To do that, you need to anticipate customer needs, rather than just responding to them. Practice these 7 techniques to provide outstanding customer service and you’ll be able to steer around any obstacles, well before they even become problems:

1) Know your customers

You can’t give your customers what they want if you don’t know who they are. So you’ll have to know who they are and where they are in their journey as a customer.

Tip for Pros:

Think about your business the same way you do when you want to give a truly personal gift to one of your best friends. You avoid anything generic and instead you consider their hobbies, dreams and especially their individual personality. You find the perfect gift for that specific person, and only that person. THAT’s how well you need to know your customers!

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2) Don’t just listen – ask!

Clients don’t always know what they want, and even when they do know, they may not be able to explain it clearly. So you have to read between the lines. Repeat what you think you’ve heard from your client so you can confirm that they’ve said what they really mean.

Tip for Pros:

However, don’t wait for your customers to tell you what they think about their experience, ask for feedback. Send a survey or call to ask past clients, current customers or even prospects to help you understand your customers’ expectations and how well you’re meeting those expectations.

3) Keep a record

Keep track of your customer interactions so you have record of past questions or support issues that you can easily refer to the minute you receive a question from your customers. Pay attention to these customer interactions and look for patterns.

Tip for Pros:

If you take note of what similar customers tell you in similar situations, you’ll start to see similar results. Identify the patterns, and use that information to predict the next time those obstacles may occur.

4) Share information

The biggest cause of customer complaints comes down to miscommunication, so share as much information as possible. Don’t assume your customers understand the transaction process. Most customers have little experience with real estate, and they may find information on the Internet that gives them a false impression of the industry or the current market.

Tip for Pros:

Instead, point them in the direction of credible sources of information – especially your own blogs or videos – and explain what they need to know, and why, before they need to know it in order to prevent any confusion about the process.

5) Be realistic

Saying ‘no’ to a customer may seem like a bad idea, but it’s important to be honest about expectations. Don’t overpromise, and don’t say ‘yes’ just to make them happy when you know ‘no’ is the real answer.

Tip for Pros:

If you can’t give your customers what they want, make sure they understand why. It’s better to give them bad news with a solution to that problem that you know you can deliver, rather than just telling the client want they want to hear. If you’re always genuine with your customers, they’ll never have reason to complain, “but that’s not what you promised!”

6) Be reachable

Nothing is more frustrating than when you can’t get in touch with the person you’re supposed to be doing business with, so make sure your customers know how to contact you. Find out how your clients prefer to communicate – some may want face-to-face meetings while others like to get texts, calls or emails – and how often they want to hear from you. 

Tip for Pros:

Think past the usual 9-to-5. Look at the patterns from past customers to predict busy communication times and keep your schedule free at those hours. Whether that’s evenings or weekends, make sure that your office is open to them when they need you most.

7) Respond quickly

Today’s wired world requires faster service than ever before. Potential customers who don’t hear from you the same day will feel underappreciated and will turn to someone who can respond to their questions more quickly. Since a late response can destroy the trust you’re trying to build in the relationship, aim to get back to clients within three hours of a call or message.

Tip for Pros:

If you don’t have an assistant or colleague who can take your calls when you’re in meetings with another client, set up ready-to-use messages that you can send in the meeting, and return the call as soon as you’re finished.

Why take the extra time?

Planning two steps ahead makes for more work today, but it’s always well worth the effort. Anticipating – and meeting – customer needs before they ask gives that person a feeling that they are truly cared for. And while this means you can’t cut corners by treating everyone the same, this plan-ahead customer care will give you the happiest customers for the long road ahead.