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How to Turn Angry Customers into Happy Referrals

They say you’re only as good as your last shipment. That’s because how you handle inevitable exception freight with customers – especially angry customers – can impact that business relationship in both the short and long term.

Here are a few pointers on how to reduce stressful shipping situations and calm that angry customer:

Take a minute
Before tackling the issue, take a moment to step back, take a deep breath and full understand the situation. Ask questions and be sure you fully understand the situation and the facts before proposing a solution. Take the opportunity to own the mistake, offer empathy, and accept that your attention is necessary.

Ok, so what happened? Time for options.
The majority of common issues can be resolved with simple solutions.

  • Transit time: 
    • Expedite the shipment if possible
    • Arrange dock pickup by the receiver
    • Schedule another carrier to complete the shipment
    • Consider a different carrier or service level for future shipments
  • Damages/Loss:
    • Send a replacement shipment if the customer is especially important
    • Evaluate packing processes and arrangement for future shipments
  • Missed Pickup
    • Triple check that the shipment will be picked up the following day
    • Offer the shipper the option to drop their freight at the terminal

Don’t be afraid to over-communicate throughout the process. In some situations, the only solution is to communicate clearly and respectfully. Don’t forget to practice empathy, and get everything in writing to keep agreements clear and upfront.

Following these steps can help you turn a frustrating experience into a positive one. Remember to put yourself in your customer’s shoes, offer real solutions and reassurances, and communicate consistently, and your angry customer just might become your next word of mouth referral.