Client Retention Tips: How to Deal with Difficult Customers

In 2018, whether you know it or not, you have probably participated in some form of customer retention marketing, either by running a campaign yourself or as a customer. When you are first getting started, client retention seems like the obvious choice for reducing churn rate and keeping your customers engaged. However, even with the best tactics and strategies, there will still be difficult customers that come your way.

Since these clients will come eventually, it’s best to be prepared before this happens instead of struggling to keep up when they come. In this article, we are going to offer a few client retention tips for dealing with difficult customers. Once you have mastered the ability to retain even the toughest customers, your client retention marketing will be unstoppable. Let’s get started.

Understand and listen to them

The first client retention technique that should come naturally in this situation is to take time to understand and listen to these customers. Oftentimes, these customers just want to be heard. Especially when you consider that 67% of customers mention bad experiences as a reason for churn, but only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain.

What this means is that if someone comes to you with a complaint, you should take them seriously. Do everything you can to fix the issue, because statistically 25 other customers have experienced the same problem and won’t tell you. Listen to the customers who complain, try to understand the issue, and then do what you can to find a solution.


Show that you care

Although listening and understanding difficult clients is important, you need to make an effort to show these customers that you care. In order to have them feel like you are actually helping and not just crossing off items on a list, go the extra mile and offer them something as a way of saying thank you for their patronage.

For instance, if you have a customer loyalty program, you can offer them rewards or points toward future discounts. By keeping customers engaged throughout this entire process, you solidify the relationship and prove that you care. On top of that, engaged customers are five times more likely to buy only from the same brand in the future. Not only can handling difficult customers improve retention, but you may end up with a better relationship in the end.

Stay consistent

While dealing with customers, difficult or not, it is important for your brand to stay consistent with both customer service and marketing messaging. In fact, 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a consistent experience. Since you can only control what you do and not how your customers react, consistency is key to serving the largest part of your audience well. Others will just have to take it or leave it.

One of the best ways to maintain a consistent message is through marketing automation. By setting up triggers linked to client retention messaging, you can stop churn in its tracks. For example, fitness clubs that notice their members coming to the gym on a less frequent basis can set up a trigger to offer a free class after 2 weeks of not seeing a member at the gym. Little tactics like this go a long way when it comes to client retention and engagement.

Marketing Automation.

Focus on solutions

Along with staying consistent, it’s also important to stay positive and focus on solutions. While there should be a certain level of empathy when speaking with a difficult customer, you also need to stand behind your business and product. Instead of spending the majority of the time asking what went wrong, focus on providing solutions and remaining positive. If customers still end up churning, it’s like not you, but them.

This is another vital aspect of client retention and working to reduce churn rate: it’s OK to let customers go. Far too often, companies will work tirelessly to try and retain a customer that has no interest in being retained. By focusing your efforts on customers that are willing to speak with you and are interested in sticking with you, you can spend your time more efficiently, both for you and your customers.

Exceed expectations

Again, this is a fairly obvious idea, but if you can come back from having a dissatisfied and meet them with solutions that exceed their expectations, you can win them for life. One way that businesses can do this is by meeting their customers where they are, which is on mobile. Not only that, but if you can do it well, you will stand out as 90% of customers say they have had poor experience seeking customer support on mobile.

If you can focus on creating a mobile marketing experience that exceeds customer expectations, you will be among the 10% of business that get this right. Imagine what that will show to your customers. This is just one of many use cases for SMS marketing that you should consider when focusing on client retention.

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SMS and email marketing

Monitor entire process

As we have stated before, client retention is about the entire process, not just one tactic or strategy. This also means that you need to monitor the process from start to finish in order to glean best practices for next time this happens. Tools that track user engagement metrics should be used to see where in the customer journey clients are not having their needs met.

After tracking these mobile metrics, you will be able to lay out each part of the customer journey and optimize it for future users. For instance, if there is a part of your process where clients are becoming frustrated or are prone to churn, you can meet them there and provide solutions. This sort of proactive approach will set your client retention program apart from the rest by sampling making sure the same mistakes are not repeated.

 user engagement

Follow up

Once you have gone through this entire process with a difficult customer and they still aren’t convinced, it may be time to let them go. However, you can win them over, this is the best opportunity to solidify your relationship. Far too many businesses will celebrate winning back the customer and then won’t use that momentum to make a difference. This is why our final client retention tip is simple: follow up.

Part of showing your clients that you care is going the extra mile and following up with them about their experience. You can even ask them to fill out a survey based on their experience and how it can be improved in the future. The most important part is simply putting in the effort. If you can do this, the rest will come.

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