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Is There a Great Way to Deliver Bad News?

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Do you relish the idea of:

  • Telling a client that their pay rates are too low?
  • Informing an applicant that you can’t find them a job?
  • Calling a customer to say you have nobody available to fill their job order?

Nobody does. Delivering bad news stinks.

But, while there may not be a “great” way to share tough news, some methods are definitely more shareworthy than others. Use these simple tips to make being the bearer of bad news a little more bearable for you – while preserving your relationships with valued clients and candidates:

  • Be transparent. When you fail to meet a customer’s expectations or something else goes wrong, be a window – not a door. Transparency sets the stage for problem resolution, and is therefore critical to effective service recovery.
  • Be direct. Mincing words and beating around the bush just delays the inevitable – and heightens customers’ frustration. When you have tough news to share, get to the point quickly.
  • Apologize. Not because it’s your fault, but because the news may cost your customer time, money, frustration, disruption to their business, or something else. And be sure to make your apology sincere.
  • Provide an explanation, not an excuse. Explain what contributed to the current situation, providing a reasonable level of detail. Resist the urge to point fingers, even if the majority of the blame rests with your customer.
  • Be personal. Instead of hiding behind policies, treat your clients and candidates like the humans they are. People do business with people, and your customers will respect you much more if your communications don’t sound like canned verbiage copied from a policy manual.
  • Be available if the customer has questions. Provide an easy and direct way for your customer to follow up, if needed.

Related posts:

How to Apologize the Right Way

5 Ways to Lose Staffing Customers

Have a tip for turning bad news into good customer experiences?

I’d love to hear about it! Please drop me a line or leave your comments below.

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