Customer satisfaction is one of the most important aspects of running a successful computer repair business. That’s why we have processes in place (you do have your processes documented, don’t you?) that can help us ensure that our clients get nothing but the absolute best service and walk away happy.
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we can’t please everyone all of the time, and every now and again we run into a situation where we have an unhappy client. Sometimes, fortunately very rarely, a client will be so upset that they’ll initiate a chargeback or credit reversal on their payment.
How can we handle such a troubling outcome? It’s not quite as difficult as you may think.
Regardless of what made the client is unhappy enough to initiate a chargeback, it’s important to remember to stay calm. You never want to lose your cool, that will only escalate the situation and make matters worse.
Don’t beat yourself up either. A credit reversal can almost be heartbreaking. You can easily begin to second guess yourself, and your work. Don’t.
I would actually suggest not reacting immediately to the situation at all. In fact, I think it’s a good idea to take a day or so to let things set in and gather your thoughts before proceeding. Give yourself a little breathing room.
The important thing to remember is that it’s not the end of the world. It’s just a small bump in the road that you can easily get over with just a little effort.
Now that you’ve calmed down a bit, we can begin to figure out how to proceed from here.
Try to “make it right”
One things you can try to do is reaching out to the upset client directly. I’m not going to lie; this won’t be easy. You’ll more than likely have more than a few butterflies in your stomach. However, getting the customer’s side of things, and actively listening to their problems and complaints can go a long way towards resolving this potentially volatile situation.
If you really think about it, we’re in the business of solving problems for our customers. This is just one more problem to solve for a client. I guarantee if you manage to solve this problem, you’ll have earned a client for life.
Just make sure that you listen to what the client has to say, and acknowledge their feelings. You’re in no way admitting guilt or fault at this point, you’re just attempting to provide excellent customer service.
In many cases, you and the client can come to some sort of agreement that will make both of you happy. The key is to remember to stay calm, and listen to your client.
When to fight
Sometimes we can be faced with am extremely difficult client who absolutely refuses any of your gestures of goodwill.
It is now doubly important that you remain calm, and don’t take it personally. The client is just acting out their frustration. They’re very likely more angry with the situation than they are with you.
Even though you did the work or provided the client with a previously agreed upon service, they insist that it wasn’t to their satisfaction, and absolutely do not want to give you a chance to address their grievances. It happens.
Sometimes in life we’re going to encounter difficult people. This might just be one of those times. Take a deep breath (are you sensing a theme here yet?), and ask yourself if the amount in question is worth fighting for.
It might just be easier to let a miserable client walk away with a refund feeling a little happier, and get them out of your hair. Perhaps the amount in question could be considered a small investment in your own piece of mind. At this point it’s going to be a judgement call that only you can make.
However, should you decide to contest the chargeback, the process isn’t really all too difficult.
How to approach the chargeback
The first thing you’re going to want to do is document the entire situation. You can be sure that the unhappy client is going to tell their side of the story to the bank handling the chargeback, you need to be able to tell your side as thoroughly as possible.
Type out a statement of events. The more details of every interaction you can provide, the better. There’s no such thing as too many details here.
You’ll also want to get any supporting documentation together, such as any legal agreements the client may have signed, invoices, and copies of the signed payment receipts, anything you think might be pertinent. There is also no such thing as too much supporting documentation. In fact, the more you can provide, the better your chances are of winning the dispute.
You may have to go back and forth with the bank as the initial decision can be appealed by either you or the client. If that occurs, resubmit all of the information you have previously submitted, along with any new pertinent information and/or documentation. Sure it might seem a bit redundant, but I find that it’s better to be too thorough than it is to not be thorough enough.
The big lesson here
You’re never going to please everyone all of the time, that’s just a fact of life. You can, however, actively take steps to increase the happiness of your clients, and decrease your risk of a payment dispute.
Be sure to keep the lines of communication between you and your clients open. Make sure your clients know that if they have any questions, or run into any problems they can reach out to you directly.
You also want to make sure the clients signs off on any work before and after the service is performed. This little bit of documentation can go a long way toward ensuring that any potential dispute will be ruled in your favor.
Finally, should an unhappy client initiate a chargeback, don’t panic. Approach the problem calmly and rationally, and with enough effort, everyone involved can come out ahead.
Have you ever had a client dispute payment? How did you handle it? Please let us know in the comments below.