Turning lemons into lemonade: Proactively communicate with customers to build loyalty

We all know the old adage, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” But this saying is just as true for customer service as for personal hardships. No customer relationship is perfect, and there are bound to be certain situations or issues which come up, that you as a business simply don’t have control over. In order to turn a potential complaint into a compliment, companies need to be proactive and communicate with customers to inspire loyalty, increase sales, and turn a sour experience into something enjoyable.
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We all know the old adage, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” But this saying is just as true for customer service as for personal hardships. No customer relationship is perfect, and there are bound to be certain situations or issues which come up, that you as a business simply don’t have control over. So is there anything your company can do to turn a potential complaint into a compliment when you hit a snag with a customer experience?

By now we’ve all seen the studies showing consumers are increasingly intolerant of companies’ service failures. Even if customers continue to do business with you after a sub-par interaction or experience (although two-thirds of them might not), they are highly likely to let others know about their disappointment:

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But when a storm hits and a retailer’s shipping company can’t get a package delivered to a customer on time, how can you avoid a negative interaction when the customer blames you for missing the delivery date? Even though issues such as these are sometimes out of your control, there is a way to mitigate negative experiences when things don’t go the way customers – or you – want.

Shep Hyken, a widely read expert in customer service, says it takes two things – proactivity and communication. It’s no longer enough to simply communicate with customers, you also need to be pre-emptive and preventative in your communications.

Learning to harness predictive strategies to enhance service experiences helps increase satisfaction, loyalty, and sales. This means constantly being on the lookout for events that you know are going to upset the customer. Issues such as: a flight delay, low balance on a checking account, or an order that’s out of stock. When these occur, the first step is to let the customer know before it causes them to leave for the airport too early, bounce a check, or show up at their nephew’s birthday party empty-handed. By anticipating problems before they occur and proactively communicating them to your customer, you help find solutions faster and inspire return customers.

Providing proactive communications to customer is not expensive or hard. Cloud-based platforms like Nuance’s Proactive Engagement can keep your customers informed and make it easy to get compliments like the one an insurance company representative received from a customer who was proactively notified about a past due premium payment.

“I got a telephone call, which I have to tell you, I absolutely loved! Because if I hadn’t got that, it would have slipped right past me.”

Whatever your customer service woes may be, proactively reaching out to customers when issues arise can help turn potentially sour experiences into tasty lemonade! Drink on.

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Brian Moore

About Brian Moore

Brian Moore, senior principal, industry solutions of Nuance’s Enterprise division, brings more than 30 years of experience in financial services, mortgage and collections operations and technology to the company. He is also our resident compliance expert, advising companies on the TCPA, FDCPA, TSR and other regulations impacting customer engagement.