Ever have an angry customer?

Posted on June 25, 2008. Filed under: customer service, small business | Tags: |

Typical debit card transaction machine, branded to McDonalds.

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We have all had customer service incidents.  (Here’s one of mine.)

But have you ever had a really angry customer?  It is not a pretty sight.  My customer service plan is to try to avoid “angry” as best I can by nipping things in the bud.

Last week I had trouble with the credit card terminal.  While I was batching out the day’s receipts, the machine went blank.  After a call to the merchant service line, I was told that the batch had not gone through and it was no longer in the memory of the machine.  I was asked to manually re-enter each slip.  (Luckily it was not a big, busy day, so there were only 10 items.)

I input the items again.  Just in case there was any problem, I emailed all the customers and told them what was up.  The next day, one of the clients emailed me to let me know that two transactions were pending on her account.  Yikes!  Panic!

Another call to Merchant Services, and a different person told me that I was supposed to have re-entered the transactions as “offline” and used the same authorization number.  So what had happened now was that on the day before the batch failure, when the clients’ cards were swiped, an authorization was put through to their account.  The actual transaction is not processed until the batch is sent.  When I reentered the items, an additional authorization went through.  I was assured that the original authorization would “drop off” of their accounts in a few days and only one charge would go through.

So I sent another email to all of the effected clients explaining things as I understood them, apologizing for any trouble and thanking them for their patience and understanding.  When they come in the salon next time, I will give them a little gift as an additional apology.

The reason I communicated with the clients was to keep them from seeing their bank info, seeing us on their twice for the same event, freaking out, and wondering what was wrong, or worse: calling and screaming at me!  For me, it is easier to avoid drama than to deal with it full blown.

Sometimes they get you, though.  For 5 steps on how to deal with an angry customer once they are really hot, read this post from Business Pundit.

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One Response to “Ever have an angry customer?”

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Customer Service is key in the business world, you have to address issues ASAP. Don’t wait for the customer to come to you with issues, if you wait then your asking for a bad reputation.

People are forgiving so be truthful that always wins in the end. You handled this with great for sight. We all need to be reminded who pays the bills and how important it is to keep them happy. With that being said some customers you never want again, but that’s a whole different post…


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