This week we are discussing a topic that is relevant for all business and industries and that topic is what do you do when things go wrong with client relationships? Especially what do you do when it is your fault? So, we sat down and spoke with Blake Puryear of Engine Ecommerce, a software company, about how he handles unhappy client situations. What do you do at Engine ECommerce when things go wrong?
“Helping the client understand what their problem is can also be very valuable because a majority of the time the fault may not necessarily be with the client or with you, it may just be a misunderstanding or the problem is a process or a knowledge gap. ”
— BRYAN FITTIN
The biggest thing we can do is ensure the client knows that they are heard, that they are still valued, and that there is a path to resolution. If you make them feel like they are being understood, that they’re a priority, and that their problem will get fixed, then it helps build brand credibility and lets them know you care about the outcome. This applies to almost every industry, communicating with them and ensuring them that their issue is getting fixed is most important. It’s essential you figure out what your client wants or needs and understand that they don’t always want money, but a lot of the time they just want their problem to be solved. Helping the client understand what their problem is can also be very valuable because a majority of the time the fault may not necessarily be with the client or with you, it may just be a misunderstanding or the problem is a process or a knowledge gap. Therefore, painting the picture for them that you can teach them something or can help equip them with the tools or knowledge they need to solve the problem so it doesn’t happen again is vital for fostering or repairing that relationship.
What do you do when it is your fault that things went wrong?
Owning it up front and admitting that you dropped the ball, but now you are going to understand why it happened, do your best to fix it, and make sure the problem doesn’t repeat itself. It takes mutual respect between the company and the client to ensure that both are communicating professionally so that the brand stays true to its personality and the client leaves the situation pleased. It is helpful for smaller businesses to understand that it is not possible to conduct your business and never a negative review or an unhappy customer. If you set this expectation, then you will most likely be unprepared when a situation arises. Having a company value that sets the standard for how to handle those events when things need fixed and being prepared for it will ensure you come across as authentic and on brand. Making sure you have the resources available to help when there is a situation is imperative to business identity and how smoothly your client interactions are when things go wrong.