Your Perfect Damage Control Plan for Winning Back Customers
In every business, there will always come a time when somebody drops the ball with a customer. Whether this is presenting inaccurate information, missing a meeting, or not responding to a support issue, these events can really harm your business’ relationship with the customer. As such, you can’t just ignore the problem and hope it will go away – every business needs a damage control plan for when an employee messes up. By thoroughly following this plan, you can take control of the situation and begin to rebuild the relationship with the offended customer.
But how do you make an effective damage control plan? Don’t worry – we’re here to tell you. In this article, we will go over the perfect plan for when you’re in damage control mode. By following these five easy steps, you can weather any crisis and soothe over hurt feelings and mistrust. Best of all, this crisis action solution can be applied to any situation, even outside of the business world. Have you hurt a friend or family member? You can use the same damage control plan outlined below to own up to your actions and begin to repair the relationship.
What is Damage Control?
Before you can begin to repair the relationship, you need to understand the objective of crisis management. When participating in damage control, you need to focus not on yourself, but on the other person. The main purpose of crisis management isn’t to save your bottom line or protect your company’s image. Instead, the purpose is to mitigate the harm felt by the other party. You need to focus on their feelings – why do they feel upset or betrayed by your company? What can you do to regain their trust and soothe over the harm that they feel?
When you focus on the customer’s feelings instead of defending the company, you make it clear to your customer that they are who matter the most in the relationship. You also make it clear that you truly care about them, not just your image. As such, your main goal should not be to win back money or prevent a bad review; it should be to rebuild that important customer relationship.
A Fool-Proof Damage Control Plan
If you follow these 5 steps as part of your crisis management policy, you are sure to remedy any crisis situation and begin rebuilding trust.
1. Own up
The first step in making things right is to own up to your (or your company’s) mistake. Owning up means clearly identifying what you did wrong and what harm it caused. Don’t focus on excuses or blame the hurt party for their role in the crisis. Simply and clearly state what you did wrong and why that hurt the other person.
2. Make personalized contact
Once you’ve identified what went wrong, it’s time to reach out and own up to the other party. However, a rote plain-text email won’t deal the trick. You need to personalize your apology and properly display your remorse. Here are some options for how to contact the other person:
- Video email: Your first step before scheduling a meeting should be to send a video email where you state your apology and offer to schedule a meeting to discuss the situation. A video email is much better than a plain-text email because it allows for non-verbal communication. You can convey your remorse with facial expressions, tone, and appropriate hand gestures. Additionally, video emails are more likely to be clicked on and their contents remembered. With a video email platform like Covideo, you can even attach your calendar to the video so that your recipient can schedule a meeting as soon as possible.
- Meet in-person: This is the best way to begin rebuilding the relationship since you can have a live conversation. If you can meet in-person, make sure you’re doing it on the hurt party’s terms. Let them decide the time and place, though you can offer a few options to make their decision easier. If you’re meeting for coffee or a meal, offer to pay. Bring along any paperwork or objects you may need to demonstrate what went wrong and what you plan to do to make it right.
- Video call: This method is almost as good at meeting in-person and is generally easier on everyone’s schedules. In a video call, you can keep track of the other party’s reactions and adjust your message accordingly. Once again, make sure that the video call respects the other person’s schedule, though you can offer multiple options for a date and time or send along your calendar to let them schedule the meeting.
- Phone call: A phone call isn’t the best method since you can’t see the other person, but it still allows for a live conversation. You can also begin a phone call without scheduling it ahead of time if you’re not otherwise able to get a hold of the other party. If they still don’t answer the phone, then be sure to leave a voicemail with your apology and an offer to talk about the situation at their convenience.
3. Layout exactly how you’re going to make it right
After you’ve reached out and owned up to your mistake, it’s time to lay out how you plan to make it right. Even before you reach out, you should have this plan written out. What the plan will entail will depend on the situation, but it should always clearly and specifically address how your solution will mitigate the harm caused.
Nevertheless, your plan should remain flexible and open to input from the hurt party. While you should always have a plan in place when you contact them, you should also always ask them how they feel about your solution. Everybody is different, so what works for one customer may not work for another. Ensure that your solution is the best possible for your specific customer by adjusting it according to their wishes.
4. Over communicate
Unless your customer has asked you to stop contacting them, you should over-communicate with them about the situation going forward. If you don’t hear back from them after your first video email apology, send another the next day. Even after meeting with them, send another message whenever you have a new update about the implementation of your solution. You need to communicate as much as possible until the situation is truly resolved – when the customer has stated that their trust has been restored. Frequent communications show your customer that you have not forgotten them and the harm you caused them and that rebuilding the relationship is your #1 priority. Remember: if you think you’re communicating enough, then it’s not enough! You’re only doing it right if you feel like you’re over-communicating.
5. Follow through
Obviously, it’s not enough to simply say what you’re going to do – you need to follow through! As soon as your customer approves your plan to make things right, you need to implement it. If any other issues come up, then communicate them with your customer ASAP and adjust your solution accordingly.
Additionally, you need to ensure that the original issue never comes up again. Create another policy or plan so that you will avoid future issues. Communicate this plan both with your hurt customer and with your manager or co-workers. Follow through on this plan and demonstrate that you can learn from your mistakes and grow.
Business Crisis Management with Covideo
Quick and clear communication is the most important factor in your damage control plan. As such, you need access to the best communication software on the market. Check out Covideo, the #1 video messaging tool for businesses. With Covideo, you can embed videos directly into email, text messages, and CRM messages. Create personalized videos with custom video landing pages that are sure to capture the attention of all of your customers. To try out Covideo, schedule a demo with one of our video experts or start your 7-day free trial today.