How to Get Back on a Customer’s Good Side

Four easy steps to making things right again


By Raquel Guarino

Somehow, some way, your company messed up. Whether it was a defective product, an undelivered promise, a grumpy employee, or something innocuous, you're now dealing with an unhappy customer. Now what? Should you just take the L and call it a day? Of course not. While some people may never be pleased, many more customers are just looking for a situation to be corrected. Here are a few steps to get back on a customer's good side after a negative experience.

Step Back

When your product or service is being criticized by a particularly angry customer, your first instinct may be to go on the defensive. While this is natural, defensiveness often comes off as aggression. It's very possible that your reaction is justified, however, in most cases it's not. Instead of lashing out or even reacting passive aggressively, take a moment to step back from the situation. Reassess whether it's truly in your best interest to escalate an already tense moment. In most cases, your company will find most value when you choose to de-escalate.


You may have never been in your customer's exact situation before, but that doesn't mean you haven't dealt with parallel issues. In order to empathize, you must do more than consider your customer's point of view. True empathy is acknowledging their humanity and being kind. When you address your customers with kindness, patience, and deference, the attitude of their responses will mirror your own.


Once you've done what you can to fully understand the situation, now it's time to offer a resolution. This could mean an apology, a discount, a return, or a small exception to your store policy to make things right. In addition to this, be sure that your customer understands your gratitude when they accept the terms of the resolution.


Feedback may be the most important part of this interaction. While you cannot change the past, you can learn from prior mistakes to ensure they don't happen again. By asking customers how you could improve a process or product, you let the customer know they are still valued while simultaneously improving your own brand.


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