If you get an unhappy customer and they stay that way, you’re giving up too easily. You should view each unhappy customer as a challenge to turn them into a happy one, as every situation has that possibility. But if you’re not sure exactly how that’s done, then RepricerExpress is here to help turn that frown upside down.

1. Take a Deep Breath and Give Yourself a Moment

There is almost never a time that’s so urgent you have to respond immediately, especially if you’re only selling online. With ecommerce, you have the chance to take a few minutes to read the message and step back for a bit so you can separate your emotions from the situation.

Go do something totally unrelated from what you’re currently doing, like rearranging your fridge, a couple of push ups, or playing with your pets. The idea is to take your mind off the email so you can return to it with fresh, objective eyes.

2. Find Out What’s Really Going On

You know a neat trick I learned that helps you instantly put both parties on the same page? When the other person says their piece, say back to them, ‘I want to make sure I completely understand what you’re saying. The frustrations you’re having are X, Y and Z? (and then rephrase what their frustrations are)’.

This does two things: one, it shows them that you’re concretely paying attention to what they’re telling you; and two, it gives them an opportunity to rephrase if they need to so they can make themselves better understood.

Related: How to Respond to a Negative Amazon Product Review

3. Read Between the Lines

Sometimes a customer is able to fully articulate their frustrations, and sometimes they’re unable to.

For example, if they’re voicing displeasure about your return policy, it’s probably not about losing a couple of dollars or pounds or euros. It’s probably about feeling cheated and not being able to trust the seller.

Try and piece together the steps between what they’re writing and what they actually mean, and address that.

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4. Find a Solution That Works for Both of You

In his 1961 inauguration speech, JFK said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

The same concept applies into turning an unhappy customer into a happy one.

Instead of focusing on what you want your (unhappy) customer to do, ask them what you can do for them. There’s a chance they’ll propose something that doesn’t work for you, but it’s a starting ground you can negotiate on.

If they say, ‘I want a full refund on everything’ and you absolutely can’t do that, say this instead: ‘If I offer a full return, would you be willing to pay the shipping?’ or ‘I can’t do a full return but I can offer you a store credit for the same amount.’ (But if it’s something as simple as a return and/or it doesn’t happen that frequently, consider just doing the return.)

5. Genuinely Say You’re Sorry

In relationships, it’s an oft-quoted maxim that people need to decide if they want to be right or happy, and the same applies here.

Of course, you can completely hold your ground and tell the buyer they’re in the wrong, or you can identify where you went wrong (and there’s always something you could have done, or else the customer wouldn’t be emailing you) and apologise for it.

But don’t just offer a generic apology; identify where you erred, tell them, and offer up an honest ‘I’m sorry’. People want to feel heard and acknowledged, no matter how trifling their frustration, and a short apology can often go the longest way.

Bonus Tips!

Here are a handful of other tips you can use to turn an unhappy customer into a happy one.

  • Use their name.
  • Stay polite and calm and use polite, friendly language.
  • Remember that it’s usually not aimed at you, but the problem.
  • See things through to the end.
  • View each complaint as a chance to improve.
  • Try and give them more than they expected or asked for.

We get that it’s extremely frustrating to get a complaint and have to work with an unhappy customer at making things right. But an unhappy person is likelier to share their experience than a happy one.

With FeedbackExpress, Amazon feedback software you can prevent unhappy customers leaving a negative review on your account by asking them to contact you if they’re not satisfied with any part of the transaction. Sign up today for your free 30-day trial and watch your Amazon seller rating soar!

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*A version of this article first appeared on the FeedbackExpress blog

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