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The Hidden Power of Your Customers: Four Keys to Growing Your Business Through Existing Customers by Becky Carroll

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THINGS WILL GO WRONG

All of us have days when things don't go as we would like them to; companies do, too. Service breaks down. Planes don't take off on schedule. An employee doesn't show up for work. Someone slams one of your company's products on a blog.

When things go wrong with customers, the outcome—positive or negative—often depends on the kind of relationship you've built with them before the problem occurred. Does your company have a history of listening and reaching out to its customers? Does your company empower employees to make things right when they go wrong? Does your company respond to blog posts and other social media conversations? Does your company communicate with customers in the way customers prefer?

Answering these questions can help to design a strong customer strategy that will help organizations weather the storms that inevitably come. It will also help unlock the hidden power of your customers when they tell everyone about the great experience they had with your company even when solving a problem.

Let's take a look at how to handle customers in three situations: when we make a mistake, when they make a mistake, and when it isn't clear who made the mistake.

When We Make Mistakes

Dealing with customer complaints is a necessary part of doing business. Whether our customers are consumers or businesses, they expect us to make it right when we make a mistake. This activity is generally referred to as service recovery; I call it “making sure your customer comes ...

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