Is a difficult customer no stranger to your water sport rental location? Learn how to deal with them by tuning in for this week’s episode!
Hey everyone, thanks for dropping in for this week’s episode of the Weekly Wave presented by WaveRez. I’m your host Greg Fisher, and today we’ll be talking about how to deal with difficult customer situations in your watersport business.
Although there are many methods to overcome the most challenging situations, we have to take a step back and understand how we got here. In my experience, the operators with the most 1 star reviews or constant customer complaints are due to the lack of transparency in their marketing, and booking flow. For example, many operators have a tendency to make few updates to their website, and promote “new boats”, when they are not. Or they use stock photos of their equipment, which is not a clear depiction of the actual product they are renting. I also see a lot of misinformation, such as advertising being at one location, but it’s really the next city over. The theme here is that you are likely creating negative customer interactions if you are not proactive, so have a plan to update your website often, and be honest and upfront about your services.
Now there are times when you do everything right, and something just goes wrong. Maybe the weather cuts the trip short, or the equipment breaks down. Let’s talk about some ways to handle these situations….My first rule of thumb is to analyze the situation before making any decisions. When equipment breaks down, it’s not always the fault of the operator. Maybe the customer sucked in some sand on the waverunner, or they damaged the prop on a sandbar. Keep calm, and ask questions to your best ability to determine the cause. Sometimes you are unable to determine the cause, in which case I’d usually suck it up and try to work out some compensation. This is why it’s so important to have your crew check the equipment for damages prior to departure and log it down. Some operators will even have the customer sign off on any existing issues with the equipment in order to make sure they are not responsible upon completion of their rental. These are great ways to mitigate potential issues, and will save your crew the hassle of negative customer interactions.
But what happens when a customer refuses to pay for damages, or they want their money back because their expectations were not met? If you already have done your due diligence and feel like your company was not at fault, then you have a few options. The first option is to not offer anything, which is usually not my first choice. The customer has a lot of power these days, and can do many things to harm your business. Not only can they easily dispute the transaction, but they can leave harmful reviews, which will potentially have severe financial consequences. I would instead start off with simply asking the customer what they feel is fair. Sometimes they might ask for something very reasonable such as a small discount, or maybe some merchandise. If they are more unreasonable such as asking for a complete refund, then explain that there are costs associated with their experience, and maybe come half way. If the customer persists on wanting it completely refunded, then you’ll have to make that difficult choice on how to proceed. Just remember that a refund is much cheaper than a dispute and multiple bad reviews. And if you do get a bad review, make sure you are responding to it quickly, but we’ll save this conversation for another podcast!
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