10 Step Guide for Turning a Bad Experience into Success

There are many successful businesses and entrepreneurs who despite various failures have been able to achieve success by reversing their fortune. There are a number of steps that you can take for this purpose. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, employee in a tight spot or wish to improve your personal life by turning a bad experience into success, you can follow our 10 step guide below to have a shift in fortune. Whether you’re someone employed in customer care, have come face to face with a trouble monger during a Q&A session during your PowerPoint presentation or have a difficult situation at home with someone you intend to appease, you need to start by understanding the problem.

10 step guide for turning a bad experience into success

1. Analyze the Situation

Many Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) often face angry clients who like to sound the alarm due to their frustration and bad customer experience. Many times, the problem isn’t even all that big. However, not handling it appropriately can ruin a CSRs reputation or at the very least, his/her day. Starting with analyzing the situation can be of immense help. For example, you can ask the other person to explain the problem to make them feel that they are being heard. You can try to understand the issue at hand and analyze possible solutions in the meanwhile.

2. Listen Carefully and Ask Questions

The next step should be to ask the individual some questions to clarify the issue. You don’t need to feel offended or ask questions which might add fuel to the fire. Calmly inquire further about the problem and use words that sound reassuring. This can help calm the other person and enable you to carve your way out of a difficult situation. For example, in case of a customer, you can ask about the issue he/she is facing and request the client to provide additional information so you can help address the problem. The same can be applied to personal life or your boss or someone you might have trouble dealing with.

3. Confirm the Information you Have Grasped

Repeating the information, you have just processed can help you understand the issue correctly. This can also enable you to avoid any miscommunication which can make a bad situation even worse. CSRs often repeat the customer’s problem to confirm the issue before logging a complaint. This helps alleviate the customer’s concerns by diverting the issue to the concerned department or escalating it for resolution. In personal life or when faced with an angry boss you might not have the luxury to seek help or divert the issue to someone else. However, listening to the issue carefully and confirming the problem can still be helpful. You can better understand the root cause of displeasure and look to address it.

4. Express that the Problem has been Acknowledged

When someone is dissatisfied, be it a customer from a service, a boss at the workplace or a loved one who is disappointed in your behavior, it is because they have come to rely on someone or something that they feel has failed them. For example, a customer might face loss of time, revenue or a client if a service breaks down or a boss might feel that he/she has been embarrassed before a client, donor or a senior official because of your failure. Likewise, in personal life one can feel overwhelmed if they have feelings of betrayal towards someone. In such a situation acknowledging that the other person has been heard can help make the situation better. In such a case you need empathy to move forward, real empathy.

5. Look for a Timeline to Resolve the Issue

Mere words can only help you out for a while. Your words need to be followed up with concrete action. It can always be reassuring if one can have an ETA or timeline for their issue to be resolved. You should give a timeline based on your objective analysis to start taking corrective measures. In a professional environment you can only do that based on your organization’s standard procedures or timelines you are allowed to give out (e.g. 5 business days or 48 hrs). In case the customer feels offended due to a lengthy timeline, you can always reassure them that this is the maximum ETA and the problem might even be resolved earlier. If you’re giving a timeline to your boss, you should be able to deliver at the timeline you have committed. For this purpose, creating a timeline from a free timeline PowerPoint template can help to save some time and money. Personal relationships are a bit different compared to professional commitments, you can sort things out based on very little time or over a long period of time (whichever seems to suit the situation).

6. Follow up to Reevaluate the Situation

Once you believe the issue has been resolved or is near resolution, you should follow up to see the progress. Sometimes a smooth process can be disrupted by a minor issue caused due to something being overlooked. You need to ensure everything is working smoothly by doing whatever you can in your capacity to perform a revaluation or direct an appropriate department or employee to do that. Reevaluation in personal issues can be made by making a checklist and going through it periodically to see if everything is working out as planned.

7. Show that you have Taken Corrective Measures

Sometimes, you can be marred due to a bad reputation. This is why you not only need to work hard but also ensure it gets noticed. Be it a progress report submitted to a boss, a follow up with a client to see if they are satisfied with the resolution of their issue or a conversation with someone you are looking to appease in your personal life, showing that you have taken corrective measures can help you rebuild your reputation.

8. Don’t Give up During any Stage

While the aforementioned steps can help you turn your fortunes, not giving up is a part of it too. It is easy to think about throwing in the towel and letting the situation dictate you. This is when you need to push a little harder and keep going to get things done.

9. Learn from the Bad Experience

Part of making sure you are able to turn your fortunes is to ensure you know why the problem occurred so you can counter it. One can often be overwhelmed when faced with an issue, only to realize a similar problem has occurred with another individual. For example, one customer complaining about a breakdown in service might warrant checking if others are facing the same issue. Sometimes, a customer care helpline might play a message for incoming calls that an issue has been identified in the service and corrective measures are being taken. This is followed by the option for the customer to either talk to a CSR or hang up. Such a message can often help reduce the flow of incoming calls as customers feel that their issue is already under investigation. This is much easier than taking thousands of calls all day, driving your customer care helpline to the breaking point. Similarly, if you believe someone was offended due to your attitude in real life, you can start taking measures to prevent the behavior at your end.

10. Make Plans to Avoid it in Future

Be it a business or individual, none can survive by repeating the same mistakes. There is a need to take corrective measures and to plan for the future to avoid the issue. Once a bug is identified in a software, the developer provides fixes and tries to avoid the bug in future updates. Similarly, businesses look to appease angry customers and plan to avoid the same issues from occurring in future. If you believe your attitude or something you did (even if it wasn’t anything wrong) landed you in trouble, being cautious can be helpful. Sometimes, you might fall victim to jealous people who conspire to bring you down. You might even have to apologize even if it wasn’t your mistake. You can plan to avoid the situation by avoiding such people or cutting them off entirely if possible. Similarly, it can be a good idea to keep a low profile and to periodically get noticed for good work to mostly stay out of sight from prying eyes.


Landing in a bad situation every now and then is only natural. None of us can avoid it. However, turning it around to your advantage can help you make the most out of the situation to reverse your fortune. Even if things appear gloomy, you can make use of the situation to plan and propel forward. There are many examples where famous companies and individuals achieved this. Apple rebounded from the brink of bankruptcy in 1997 to one of the world’s top brands by adjusting its products in line with consumer expectations. Reddit literally had zero users when it started in 2005 but instead of shutting down its team began initiating threads that drove user engagement. Walt Disney was fired from his job because he was thought to ‘lack imagination and good ideas’. He later found what is now one of the largest entertainment companies in the world.

Just because you are in a bad situation does not mean that you have lost the plot. The 10 step guide given above for turning a bad experience into success is a blueprint that you can use to turn things around and even add your own flavor of adjustments to tweak your plan to success as you need to.

About Farshad

IT professional, communications specialist and Blogger!

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