Customer Support is a large part of what I currently do as well as what I have done over the last 20 years. Of all of the things we have to do to make a business run, attending to the customer is one of the most important. Without the customer, there would be no business.

Over the years of dealing with clients - and being one myself - I have learned that customer satisfaction really is key. This is so with any business, but especially true in the online world. Jeff Bezos, the Founder and President of, said, “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.”

The University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index listed Internet retail in 2007 as having an 83% rate of customer satisfaction. That means that 17% of our customers are walking away unhappy! Often an unsatisfactory experience is due to simple misunderstanding. These situations can easily be resolved by reassuring the client that their problem will be taken care of expediently and also, will not be repeated. Customers want to be dealt with on a personal level. Take on each case as though you’ve put your arm around that person and made their problem your problem.

So what key strategies do I follow?

#1 Respond promptly. Nothing burns a customer more than having to wait for a reply. The longer they stew, the harder it is to diffuse their anger. A quick reply denies them the advantage of saying they “tried to contact you several times with no reply”. This only justifies their stance and puts them even more strongly on the defensive. Even if you need to tell them, “I received your request and am looking into the issue. Thank for your patience”, you will have given them your respectful attention. Now the ball is in your court.

#2 Listen. Find out what the customer is really asking for. Let them vent and then reiterate what it is they want. It should be your aim to please. You will not only be securing a customer, but gaining credibility. J.C. Penney said, “A happy customer is your walking advertisement.”

#3 Empathize. As far as the customer is concerned, you are the company. Be as real and personable as possible.

#4 Commit. Benjamin Franklin said, “Well done is better than well said.” Avoid making promises you can’t keep. Tell the customer what you plan to do and then do it. If you aren’t certain of something, assure them that you will find out.

#5 Offer incentives to stay. Go above and beyond what the customer is asking. People inherently feel that there should be some compensation for their inconvenience. An apology doesn’t always wipe the slate clean, so add a peace offering.

Here are 10 tips for dealing with those unhappy customers:

Finally, look at the unhappy client as a guide to where you need to improve. Their feedback is an invaluable resource. Their issue resolved is one step closer to 100% customer satisfaction.

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. - Bill Gates

Author's Bio: 

President of TLC Services in Canandaigua, NY, Terri Carey has been servicing customers and businesses for over 20 years. Her true passion is assisting Coaches, because Coaches have a passion as well and that is to empower, teach and connect with people - not sit behind a desk and run a business. Terri enjoys helping them to achieve their goals by enabling them to do what they love: coach.

Terri has received coach training and sat under her own personal coach. This unique perspective has given her a deeper understanding of the profession and drive for its success. Having worked with world-renowned coaches from many different niches, she is familiar with what facets of this business make a “coach” into a “successful coach”.

Terri started her company when she saw a prevalence of stay at home parents and other homebound workers who desired meaningful employment and contact with other professionals. The more she learned about Virtual Assistants, the more she realized that the concept of virtual assistance for Coaches had great benefits for both parties. Feeling compelled to try to facilitate this collaboration between the two, TLC Services was born.

Terri has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Empire State College and continues her education in Personal Coaching. She has worked as a Member Service Representative, Junior Accountant, Customer Service Associate, Business Manager and Office Manager. She has a wide background of accounting, computer and administrative education.

Her interests include life coaching, virtual assistance, customer service, and computer technology. Terri loves volunteering in her community, music, writing, and chocolate. She enjoys working out of her home, making differences in peoples lives and using her knowledge and experience to its fullest in this endeavor. Her life mission is to help others to live the life they really want and to be the support that helps them succeed.