In most businesses, a certain percentage of customers will complain about your prices at some point. These complaints might be fair- or unfair, justified or petty, valid or irrational; but either way, you need to have a strategy for dealing with them. In the case of services, price becomes more important as the value of what’s being sold is almost entirely intangible. When you’re selling goods like books or clothing, price and value may seem like they go hand in hand; but when you sell services (like accounting, consulting, beauty services etc), that isn’t quite the case. This article will explain how to respond if your customers ever complain about your prices—and how to avoid getting stuck in that uncomfortable situation in the first place.
Know Your Numbers
Before you do anything, you should have a clear idea of how your business’s pricing compares to the market average. Use a tool like PriceHub to see the prices of your competitors, or ask colleagues how your prices stack up against theirs. If you’re providing a service, you can also use this data to calculate a rough estimate of how long it would take to make back your investment. Beyond that, you should also understand how every element of your business affects the cost of providing your services. This includes things like your location, the cost of your employees, and the amount of taxes or overhead you have to pay for each week.
Be Clear About What You Offer and Why It’s Worth It
Now that you understand the numbers behind your business, make sure your customers understand them too. In other words, make sure your website, marketing copy, and any other communication with your customers clearly explains what you’re offering and why it’s worth the price you’re charging. This is especially important if you’re selling a service that’s inherently intangible. If you’re a landscape design company, for example, you might have to explain that the price you’re charging is based on the size of the yard, the location of the house, and many other elements that can’t be reduced to a single dollar value.
Acknowledge the Problem Without Making Promises
Most customers who complain about price are not doing it maliciously. They simply don’t have the information they need to make a fully informed decision. So it makes sense that you should refund customers who’ve been misled or misinformed about your prices. But it doesn’t make sense to refund customers who are simply misinformed. Because if you refund every customer who complains about your prices, you’re reinforcing the idea that people can get a refund just for asking. This can cause more problems than it solves. It can lead to an endless stream of refunds, and no matter how many customers you refund, others will still be upset about your prices.
Be Firm With Existing Customers Only
All of the above applies to new customers who have just discovered your business and are deciding whether to buy from you. It also applies to existing customers who have been using your services for some time. And finally, it applies to customers who have been with you since the very beginning. But there’s a fourth group of customers you must also be firm with: customers who have been with you for a long time and are still complaining about your prices. This is particularly important in the service industries, because there’s a difference between a new customer who’s shopping around for the cheapest service and an existing customer who is just griping about how much you charge.
If you keep these guidelines in mind, there’s really no reason to ever feel intimidated by customer complaints about your prices. A good rule of thumb is to be firm but fair; firmly explain your prices, but do it without getting defensive or showing resentment. Remember: the customer who is complaining about your prices is probably upset, maybe even a little irrational, so you want to respond in a way that doesn’t exacerbate the situation. And if you do ever get a complaint about your prices, remember: it’s not personal. It’s just a natural part of doing business and it’s something you can handle gracefully with the right approach.