Sep 13, 2021 • Podcast

How do I approach a customer who left because of an ex-employee?

Paul deals with the sticky situation of winning the customer back after a bad experience.

Show Notes 

You’ve got to acknowledge the previous issue and own the mistake.

Strike an empathetic tone when reaching out to this customer.

Has the problem been resolved so it will not happen again?

Let the customer know, with some small act of consideration, that you want them back.

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How do I approach a customer who left because of an ex-employee?

(Transcribed from podcast)

Well, we’ve got a question from the website today, and this question came from anonymous. They asked us not to use their first name, so, we will not use their first name. But this individual wanted to know, “How do you approach a previous customer that has left your business due to a conflict with a former employee?” What a great question. So, we’re going to tackle that on today’s episode.

Before we get into that question, a quick shout-out to Andrea over at The Creative Impostor Studios. Andrea and her team do a wonderful job. They help support this podcast—they have from the very beginning. And what I was amazed with is, from the very beginning, just how helpful Andrea and her team are when it comes to figuring out which equipment you need, how to launch a show, ideas, the tech side of it, getting the podcast out there onto all the platforms that are available. I don’t have to worry about any of that stuff. And the reason why is because Andrea and her team take care of it all. So, if you’re thinking of starting a podcast, or if you’re looking to make a change, reach out to Andrea and her team. We’re going to have a link over to her website on this episode’s webpage.

Also, as I record this podcast, I am eagerly awaiting a special arrival here at our office. My publisher just informed me that I should be getting a handful of copies of my new book, Selling Through Tough Times, this week. You know, it’s amazing what we’re facing right now in the sales world—a lot of uncertainty, a lot of fear. Mentally, we’re exhausted just from this past year-and-a-half/two years that we’ve been dealing with this pandemic. Well, I’m here to tell you, I have something that will help. I’m amazed at how the first section of this book, Selling Through Tough Times, is so timely just based on what we’re experiencing. So, you can pre-order your copy on Amazon, or Barnes & Noble, wherever you get your books. We’re going to have a link over to Amazon on this episode’s web page. Again, the book is going to be released probably in just a matter of weeks. We’re facing some delays just because of what’s going on in the publishing world, and with COVID and everything like that. But guys, it is almost here. So pick up your copy. Again, the book is Selling Through Tough Times. We’ll have a link over to Amazon on this episode’s webpage.

Let’s get back to that question: How do you approach a customer that left because they had an issue with one of your employees? This is a great question. And, as I should mention, in this note, the individual who submitted this question, they also mentioned that the person they had an issue with is no longer with this company. At a basic level, you lost a customer. You want the customer back. How are you going to make that happen?

So, here’s a couple of thoughts and ideas. When you are going back to a customer, number one, you’ve got to own the mistake or acknowledge the previous issue—the event that caused them to leave. And the reason why you want to own the mistake—. One thing that drives me absolutely nuts is when a company will mess up, (even if it was an employee, the employee is part of the company), when they don’t take full ownership of the problem. So, whatever the issue was, whatever the conflict was, acknowledge it. Acknowledge it; take ownership of it. And what that’s going to do from the very beginning, it’ll set the right tone. Customers know that nobody is perfect, and just the fact that you’re willing to own the mistake, it shows them that you have integrity, that you have their interests at heart. So make sure that you own and acknowledge the issue.

Another thing, strike an empathetic tone in your message. So, when you are reaching out, when you’re reaching out to this individual, whether it’s email, whether it’s a letter, (a letter may be a great way to reach out in this case), you want your message to strike an empathetic tone. So, here’s what I would recommend before you hit that Send button on an email; before you pick up the phone, I want you to plan out what you’re going to say. And once you have your outline of what you’re going to say—your talking points and how you’re going to reach out—I want you to read the message as if you were the customer. Imagine what it’s like to be them. Imagine them receiving the message. How would they feel? How’s the tone of the message? Look at your word choice. It’s important that you send a message that is sensitive to whatever experience they previously had. Because it was obviously big enough of an issue where they decided to leave. So, we need to make sure that we strike an empathetic tone with our message. The best way I know how to do that, just imagine reading your message through the eyes of the customer.

So let’s move on to the next tip. Detail how you have fixed the issue or the concern. Go back to the event—the trigger event that caused the customer to want to leave—and ask yourself, “Okay, as a company, how have we fixed this issue? Have we trained our people on how to handle this situation better? Have we established a process or a policy that will prevent this issue from happening again?” Customers like to know that you have not only taken care of the issue, but also have processes in place to fix it in the future. So, make the customer aware of that.

So, moving onto the next tip. You know, earlier I mentioned, it’s important for the company to own the mistakes. We have to take ownership of the mistake, but it’s also important to acknowledge that the individual who the customer had an issue with is no longer there, let them know that that person is gone. And that should also make it easier for them to come back to your company, because that’s the person that they had the major issue with. And if they’re no longer there, then it would stand to reason that the issues that they were facing are no longer going to be there. And again, we take ownership, as a company, of the mistake, but we also need to acknowledge them and let them know that the individual that was the major cause is no longer there.

And finally, the last thought here. Let the customer know that you want them back. It’s important to let them know that you want them back. And this is something that I’ve seen with other companies. I remember a place I used to shop all the time. I went there; I had a bad experience. I emailed the store manager, explained the situation. And they were very obvious in their response back that they want to keep me as a customer. And so, what they did is, they sent me a gift card. They said, “You know, based on your loyalty, we would hate to lose you as a customer. We’re sorry for the experience, blah, blah, blah.” They said, “We want to make sure you keep coming back.” So, they sent me a gift card.

Now I’m not expecting all of you to go out there and start complaining so you can get gift cards. Don’t do that. But what they demonstrated with this small act of consideration is that “We want to make sure you stay a customer.” So, I would consider performing an act of consideration for your customer that you want back. Maybe it’s sending them a gift. Maybe it’s a gift card like the company did for me. Whatever it is, make a gesture. Let them know that you want them back. And then, you’ve got to wait.

So those are just a few tips. Again, own the mistake. Number two, strike an empathetic tone in your message. Number three, detail how you fixed the concern. Number four, acknowledged that the individual who created the issue is no longer there. And finally, let them know you want them back, and you can do that with a small act of consideration.

Make it big day.

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