3 Ways to Save Damaged Business Relationships

BY Rachel Cagle
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Things go wrong; it happens. That’s a fact you have to accept quickly. An angry customer doesn’t want to hear what has gone wrong, especially if you have made promises and then broken them in the past. The true test of your customer service, and the make-​or-​break of your businesses relationship with a client, is how you handle tough situations. Katie Morell, writing for American Express, says that there are four steps to dealing with problems as they arise.

Be on Top of Things

Did you find out about the problem before your client? Good; this gives you time to do some damage control. Figure out what went wrong and begin solution development. Once you’ve got a semblance of a plan, reach out to the client. Let them know what’s happening and what is being done to fix it.

Give Clients Validity 

If you’ve been alerted about a problem by your client, you need to make sure you acknowledge what is happening. Listen to what they have to say, even if they’re yelling at you. Regardless of how long their explanation or angry rant is, you have to listen to it all. Once they’re done speaking, validate their feelings. Getting everything off their chest and knowing their concerns and feelings have been heard will stop the client’s anger from quickly escalating. If you interrupt them or make them feel as if they’re overacting, their anger may go nuclear.


If you’re doing your job right, one of the main reasons your clients chose to do business with your company is likely because they know that they’ll be interacting with people, not struggling with machines. The main difference between humans and machines is a human’s ability to be empathetic. Let your client know that you understand how they’re feeling and that you’re doing everything you can to make the situation right. Be nice to them and treat them with the same respect you’d expect from other businesses you buy products from.

What’s the fourth step? Check out Morell’s article to find out.