It’s Murphy’s Law: just when you can least afford delays, things go wrong in a way that no amount of overtime will fix. Meanwhile, your business has promises to keep. Now is not the time to panic. Now is the time to save the situation. Here are some ideas you can use to save the day and your business’s reputation.
1. Delivery Issues? Courier it!
It’s good to be prepared. Have a courier company that can help you out in a tight squeeze. Delivering out of your usual area? Truck stranded in Chicago with deadlines to meet? The internet is your friend. Google “couriers Chicago,” look for same-day delivery, and vet your results based on ratings and reviews. Will it eat into your profits? Somewhat, but that sure beats upsetting your customers to the point where they’re ready to shout it from the rooftops.
2. Communicate Honestly
A supplier let you down, or you suffered a breakdown of a vital piece of equipment. There is no way on earth that you can deliver on time. There’s only one thing to do. Come clean! The person who calls your client should be at the management level, and they should be willing to take responsibility, even if it isn’t really your company’s fault. Customers don’t want to hear excuses and blame passing. Be ready to apologize and listen sympathetically to your customer’s reaction. Look for solutions together if at all possible.
3. Find Ways to Make Amends
There may be ways to make amends for any inconvenience your customer is experiencing. Offering a substantial discount may not solve the problem, but it may leave your customer feeling readier to forgive the lapse. If another supplier can offer what you do, or you can offer or source a close substitute that’s more expensive, offer to attempt sourcing and be willing to cover any cost difference.
4. Try to Turn Bad Situations into Good Ones
Some clients won’t mind waiting a day or two for you to play catch-up, but if some of them are irate, that’s to be expected. Use patience and empathy at all times. If you can’t think of a possible solution, ask your customer for ideas. Saying “How can we make this up to you?” may even result in a workable solution. Unhappy customers will often give you credit for having done your best, even if they were pretty angry at the time. If you go the extra mile searching for solutions, you may even turn a negative situation into a positive customer service experience.
5. Prevent Future Problems and Tell Your Customers
Problems can present golden opportunities for improvement and positive change. Look at what happened and why it occurred. Search for ways to make sure it won’t happen again. Give your customers feedback saying what you plan to do in order to prevent inconveniencing them again. Doing so shows that you value them and proves that you care enough to improve your service to them. “Least said soonest mended” never applies to service failures and broken promises. Recognizing the gravity of the situation means problem-solving and communicating the solutions you’ll implement.