In an industry where contractors work so closely with homeowners on extensive renovations, difficult situations are inevitable regardless of how excellent you are at your craft. When a homeowner is investing their time and money into a home improvement project, emotions and expectations tend to be high and things can escalate quickly.
Here are ten steps to diffuse difficult situations and regain trust with an angry customer:
1. Stay Calm
If a homeowner raises their voice, resist the urge to respond in kind, this will only escalate hostilities. Keep your composure and stay level-headed throughout; you’re a professional after all!
2. Acknowledge Their Frustration
Ignoring or belittling a customer can only make matters worse. Show empathy by telling them you understand their point of view, and deliver this genuinely, and in a timely manner.
3. Show You’re Concerned
Let them know you take their concerns seriously. Take notes on everything they tell you. Say it back to ensure you heard them correctly and to show you’re genuinely listening. Don’t dispute their side of the story — yet.
4. Listen to Emotion Without Emotion
Angry customers often say hurtful things in the heat of the moment. Don’t take it personally and resist the urge to respond emotionally. As a business owner, you’re always responsible for how you act, regardless of how you feel.
5. Don’t Rush Them
Be patient with your customers and let them get it all out. Wait for the waves of emotion to pass and then offer reassuring comments.
6. Ask Questions
Now it is an appropriate time to start asking questions so you can start gathering the facts to resolve the original problem.
7. Discuss Potential Solutions
After hearing their concerns, you can now start brainstorming solutions with the customer. Discuss all possible next steps and show your willingness and commitment to resolving the problem.
8. Be Prepared to Call a Timeout
If your client is not willing to discuss possible solutions, your best next step is to suggest taking some time and rescheduling a follow-up meeting. This ‘timeout’ will allow you to brainstorm alternative solutions and the client time to cool down.
9. Agree on a Solution
Provide your client with a solution that addresses all of their comments and concerns. Depending on the issue at hand, agree as to who’s responsible for the additional costs. Once you decide on the cost, suggest a realistic time frame and remember it is always better to under-promise and over-deliver to avoid a similar problem.
10. Keep Your Promises
Make this project a top priority as you’ve earned a second chance. Since you have resolved this issue, you most likely will have the opportunity to work with them again. As a final step, once the project is complete and your customer is satisfied, ask them to write a review on your HomeStars profile and remember to respond promptly to their review thanking them for the opportunity.
With these 10 tips you will hopefully regain the trust of your customer, which in turn will help you build trust with future leads as they may read reviews on your HomeStars profile.