I was checking my emails while on a domestic mission trip and received “that” email, you know the one, from a not so happy client. Unfortunately they had received a print which was improperly cropped. There I was, 1,200 miles away from the office faced with a challenge.
It is inevitable, we all receive similar messages, a frustrated client, an upset boss, the disgruntled employee, etc. They are all a challenge.
We all have a few choices when facing a challenge. Be positive, be neutral, or be negative.
When Michelle + I started our business, we were both working full-time jobs. Hence the reason I was on a mission trip with 20 other people which I was personally responsible for and at the same time trying to run our business. I stepped aside and took a deep breath.
Instead of emailing our client I chose to call, we truly feel that if an issue arises it is always better to handle it face to face if possible and if not then at least on the phone. It’s a much more personal and genuine approach. Our client said that someone’s face was cut off in the photo and that is not how she ordered it originally. I inquired how she chose to crop the image, to which she replied that she didn’t crop it. I knew that when ordering prints from our print lab one must approve the “crop lines” 3 times before placing the final purchase. I told our client I would look into this asap and give her a call back.
I proceeded to call our print lab, and they affirmed that the client had chosen the crop lines and the photo was printed as ordered.
Thats when I heard it, the evil little voice on one shoulder saying “call the client and set them straight”, but I ignored that little bugger! Instead I decided to re-print the picture and eat the cost. Because here is the thing, we can either fight over this with our client and end up making them so upset that they tell everyone about it, or we can take amazing care of them + love on them and then they go tell all their friends how we took such great care of them.
This decision overjoyed our client, not only was she thrilled she sent us an email saying, “I’m incredibly thankful and y’all have made me feel extremely valued. It truly means a lot that you took the time to take care of this for me. I wish there were more businesses like yours in this world. I will be recommending you to all my family + friends.”
Part of doing business is about our integrity, and how we treat others, those we work with and work for. We feel that all clients deserve the best from us, and to be treated with dignity.
So how do you deal with challenges and how do you allow the Holy Spirit to direct you? We deal with challenges with great charity (love). Easier said than done…right. Here are some practical steps to help.
1. Stop and Take a Breath or Two
Invite the Holy Spirit to come and be with you.
2. It’s Not Personal
Remember, your client is not upset with you, they are displeased with the performance of your product or the quality of the service you provide. So push your personal feelings to the side.
3. Collect Your Thoughts
There is hardly any issue that needs to be dealt with right at that very second. Of course the world wants us to think every situation is life or death but about 98% are not. Take a step back, this is necessary so you don’t respond out of frustration or anger. It allows you to collect your thoughts and other information needed to give a good response.
4. Listen + Love
All we need is love… thanks Beatles! Everyone wants to feel loved, valued, heard and appreciated. As a business owner it is vital that we hear our clients out. We mean really listen. Sometimes all they want to do is vent and you hearing them out resolves the entire issue. Also hearing your client out will give you the key to resolving the issue.
5. Authentically Sympathize
After listening to your client let the know you understand, you know where their coming from and how they feel. Authentically sympathize with their unpleasant experience. Respect and understanding go a long way towards a happy resolution.
6. Gracefully Apologize
If it’s your fault or not; if you want to keep your client and apology is in order. Keep it simple and clean. “We do apologize for this frustration. Taking amazing care of our clients is our top priority, graciously allow us to make things right.”
7. Come to a Resolution
You will want to come up with a fair resolution that will ultimately leave you with a happy satisfied client who then becomes a “cheerleader” and huge supporter of your business. It is better to have a happy client singing your praises than one who is slandering it. In the end you will find joy and they will too.
Every challenge we face will cause some stress, it’s human nature. And by the way stress is not a bad thing, it is our body’s natural response so we can deal with the challenge at hand. But we still need to de-stress. So once you finish with your client sneak away for a short walk, maybe a cup of warm coffee or call a friend who makes you laugh.
In the end you will come at a challenge with a positive approach filled with the Holy Spirit which will leave you feeling joy and closure. You won’t be going to bed still thinking about the issue.
Today at 2:30pm on FB live via the group Faith + Work = Prosperity we will walk through this process and answers questions. The FB live will be 20mins long. We look forward to seeing you there!