Carnival Cruise Lines suffered yet another incident on March 14, shining a spotlight on the importance of customer experience once again. After reading about more than 4,000 people getting stranded on a cruise ship in less-than-ideal living conditions for the second time in a matter of weeks, I wondered what small businesses would do in a crisis situation. Providing an exceptional customer experience can make all the difference for your company, brand and customers, even in a time of crisis. With that in mind, here are some strategies that could help you turn a crisis into a positive situation.
1. Address the issue with empathy.
We’ve all seen this before; a company does something wrong, and skirts around the issue. Whether you’re a big business or a small one, your public wants an explanation, acknowledgement of the toll your actions have had on your customers, and details on what actions you’re going to take to resolve the situation. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s all in how you correct it.
Think about this in your personal life: A sincere apology goes a long way. Will it singlehandedly remedy a crisis situation in the business world? Of course not, but a sincere apology will humanize your company and spokesperson, while delivering confidence at a time when it’s needed most.
3. Exceed expectations through full transparency.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What would you want done to rectify the situation? Whatever the answer is, do that action, plus one thing. One of the very best things you can do to extend your relationship with that customer is to fully disclose the root causes of the issues and the steps you are taking to arrest and address it. Customers want the companies they do business with to make things right. Even when it seems nothing will help, the effort will be appreciated.