Customer Experience News & Trends

5 ways to make bad news not so bad

When you deal with customers regularly, you get the pleasure of generally making them happy with solutions and answers. Then, on occasion, you must do a 180, and deliver bad news.

When that happens, you don’t want to trigger an angry or eruptive reaction says career coach Ramon Greenwood.

Be ready

To make those potentially tough situations easier on customers and yourself, deliver bad news like this:

  1. Have all your facts on hand. You’ll only worsen the situation if you answer questions or concerns with, “I’m not sure.” So gather the facts behind the news before talking to customers. Then lay out questions you think customers will ask and the answers to them.
  2. Be patient. Let customers vent their frustrations. Use an empathetic ear to hear them out and acknowledge their feelings like this, “I can understand why you feel that way.”
  3. Offer an alternative. Since you can’t give customers what they want, have a few alternatives ready and let them pick the new solution.
  4. Stay on the offensive. If you caused the mistake (say, you forgot to process an order, so delivery will be late), avoid shifting the blame or getting defensive. If it was the company’s mistake (perhaps a quality defect), use the word “we” often. You don’t want to distance yourself from the issue.
  5. Remember to report good news, too. You don’t have to cushion the current situation with something you deem good news. But do let customers know when good things happen (for example, you got their order out in record time or were able to cut their costs). That way, you won’t be remembered just as the bearer of bad news.

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