Problem or Opportunity? A Key to Customer Loyalty

By on June 15th, 2010

We all slip up from time to time–as individuals and as a company. We are human, and sometimes we simply don’t execute as well as we would like. Is this a problem or an opportunity? Well, let’s take a look.

If problems or omissions occur, it can strain a customer relationship. When they occur, we have a fundamental choice to make. We can press ahead to correct the situation or concern, deal with the issue head-on and resolve it–or not. The simple fact is that you build more trust and a stronger customer relationship by the way you handle tough situations. It can be the glue that makes a good relationship stronger, and we all know the value of a strong and valued customer relationship.

As many survey results reflect, it is not always the best price that causes customers to buy from you (and to continue buying from you), but the overall result that they achieve throughout the relationship. That includes dealing with challenges and everyday problems.

While we never wish for problems to occur, when they do, we can look at them as opportunities. They are both an opportunity to learn and to prevent from happening again and an opportunity to demonstrate our value to customers. If you strive to be the kind of company that is loyal to its customers, true to its values, and takes responsibility for your actions, customer loyalty will grow. Your customers will likely tell you that the most important thing you can do when an error or omission occurs is to move proactively to correct it and to apologize and accept accountability for the error. Then, put measures in place to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

So what is the answer to the question, “When something bad or unexpected happens, is it a problem or an opportunity?” The answer is that it’s both. It is how we deal with the situation that makes the difference in managing customer relationships.

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    3 Responses to “Problem or Opportunity? A Key to Customer Loyalty”

    1. Elizabeth Gooding Says:

      Problem resolution is one of the top factors cited by several research firms in looking at the drivers of customer satisfaction and loyalty. There is a recent study from JD Power on loyalty and satisfaction in the banking industry that covers this topic. You can get the top line information at http://businesscenter.jdpower.com/news/pressrelease.aspx?ID=2010068

    2. David Uno Says:

      While we try to resolve problem and have satisfied customers, after 25 years in operation, you also have to determine when you need to stand firm to a customer that will continue to try to walk all over you. In some cases it is better to have the customer walk than walk all over you.

    3. Vince Reindl Says:

      No company or person can perform perfectly every time, so I agree that being proactive and accepting responsibility are important. As as salesperson, I think it’s an important part of my job to get the customer to verbalize what thier expectations are when problems arise.

      We all have our own individual styles and what I view as a reasonable approach, based on my preferences, might cause further problems with someone who doesn’t share my style. If I address the problem using the stlye they have told me they like, confrontation is no longer part of the resolution process.