When you deal with hundreds of people on a daily basis, it’s always possible that somebody’s just not going to like what you’ve done for them. Figuring out how to turn unhappy customers can feel like a never-ending battle for your customer service team.

It’s an unshakeable law of the universe. You could be the nicest, most thoughtful person in the world; your hobbies could include nursing injured baby penguins back to health, but I bet you there’s somebody somewhere who’s mad at you.

At EnvisionUP, we like to send out quick little surveys to our clients every once in a while. If you don’t think anyone actually reads these things, think again: we read it all. We work hard to deliver and craft a unique and ever-evolving customer experience, and your input is a huge part of that.

While the vast majority of our clients have a lot of good things to say about us, every so often… we find that someone is not satisfied. You’d better believe it’s a shot to the gut for us! It’s like the psychological equivalent of a John Woo action scene where orchestral music starts playing as a slow-motion gunfight erupts: a million thoughts race through our heads as we try to figure out what went wrong. We take that stuff seriously!

But once the initial shock subsides, we think about how to fix it. That’s how we get better.

One of the most important lessons we’ve learned when it comes to customer experience is that an unhappy customer is an incredibly valuable asset. Their feedback is a reality check for us. It’s a litmus test for everything we do as a team, from the initial planning phases to the live launch of a completed project.

In our industry, the needs of clients and the emergence of new technologies are in a constant state of flux, and it’s a challenge to chart a path through it all. Many decisions have to be made in ambiguous or uncertain conditions. We can spend unlimited hours on information gathering and still not have all the answers. So even with a talented and experienced team, sometimes we will still get it wrong. And if we’re lucky, our clients will let us know that. That’s just the reality of the business.

Next time you’re faced with an unhappy client, keep in mind that they did not have to invest their time writing that e-mail, calling the office, or otherwise submitting negative feedback. We live in a world of virtually unlimited choices and fierce competition. They could have just taken their business elsewhere.

When a client lets you know they are dissatisfied, consider it an indirect invitation to engage in some process improvement. Whether or not you accept that invitation speaks volumes about what your business really values. While getting the big things right is important, it’s these details that’ll set you apart and put you over the top.

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