Resolving Conflicts

by Jeffrey P. Fisher

 

 

 

It happens. No matter how hard you try, something goes wrong. And your client is unhappy about your work. Don't panic. And don't shrug it off. Confront the problem head-on and attempt to resolve it. Don't pass the buck either. No matter what happens, don't shift the blame to someone or something else. Always assume FULL responsibility. Follow this six step process should any problems arise:

 

  • Take responsibility for the complaint.

  • Listen to the client.

  • Summarize the client's position.

  • Explain what you will do and by when you expect to do it.

  • Take action right away.

  • Follow up to make sure your client is satisfied.

 

The best approach is to ask the client what the problem is. Then sit back and listen. Often the client just needs to vent some anger. While I don't think you should stand for any abuse, you should listen to their side of the story actively. When it's your turn, try to answer the points brought up by your client. If there is something you can do right now to fix things: DO IT. If they must wait for the resolution of their problem, assure them that you will drop everything and work to their satisfaction. Make sure you follow up and meet their objections.

 

To guarantee satisfaction at the end of each project, simply ask the client's opinion about your services. You might consider sending a short survey to past clients asking for feedback about your products, services, and company. This can give you valuable insight. Clients will happily tell you what's right with what you are doing, so you can keep on doing it. And they'll tell you what's wrong with your approach, so you can improve, too.

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