5 Tips How to Handle Customer Complaints
Posted on October 11, 2018 by Danny Leffel
It’s naive to assume that your business will not encounter any customer complaints. Regardless of your industry or size, a mistake or problem will occur with a customer, and it is essential to have a system and strategy in place beforehand to manage complaints and maintain a positive customer experience. Here are five tips on how to handle customer complaints.
1. Be Thankful
For every customer who reports that they had a negative experience with a product or service, there are likely others who had a similar issue but chose to remain silent. Instead of complaining, many customers will decide to no longer do business with you or share their disappointment with family and friends on social media. While it’s never delightful to speak to someone about an issue with your products or service, it’s important to be thankful that they’re willing to bring the matter to your attention.
When speaking to a disgruntled customer, start your conversation with appreciation. Thank them for their business and for giving you the opportunity to make the situation right. At the end of your discussion, make sure to thank the customer for their time.
2. Stay in Control
Upset customers may express their frustration in different ways. Regardless of whether the customer is loud and angry or quiet and passive, you must maintain control over the situation to get to the root of the issue and find an efficient means of amicable resolution to the problem.
When a customer is angry, it’s crucial not to match their tone or demeanor. Ensure that you keep the conversation about the customer’s experience by staying calm, speaking clearly, and paraphrasing to assure the customer that you’re listening and care about their problem. Even if a customer is quiet, it’s important not to dismiss them or dominate the conversation. Stay calm, speak kindly, and ask questions to get the whole picture. Once you believe that you know what’s going on, explain your understanding to the customer and move on to a smart solution.
3. Find the Problem
Frequently, you’ll discover that each customer complaint contains two issues. The first issue is the customer’s experience, which drove them to the confrontation. The second problem is what caused the issue in the first place. When you hear that a customer’s product wasn’t up to your high-quality standards, you can quickly resolve the issue with a sincere apology, a replacement, and possibly compensation. Afterward, however, you’ll want to determine the reason behind the issue. Figure out which link in your production or supply chain is weak and how you can strengthen it.
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4. Resolve Their Issue
Once you’ve identified the root issue that caused the customer’s complaint, you must find a means to resolve the problem for the customer resolve the problem for the customer. If you’re worried about the financial aspect to the customer’s desired resolution, keep in mind that it’s always cheaper to retain a customer than to find a new one. For every one customer that you lose, you must acquire two new customers to continue growth.
In just about any industry, the average lifetime value of a customer usually far exceeds any short-term losses you may incur due to the resolution you provide at the time of the complaint. After taking care of the customer complaint, you can focus on making internal changes to prevent the issue from reoccurring.
5. Improve for the Future
Once the customer has been made whole, it’s critical that you take action to prevent similar complaints from happening in the future. While you work to identify the in-house cause of the complaint, you may find that the human element in your organization played a significant role. It’s important not to blame the individual but to discover what aspect of your company’s systems, training, or procedures allowed the person to make a mistake.
During this process, it is very beneficial to maintain strong team communication. Use the Crew App to bring frontline employees into the discussion; these employees probably already have a firm idea of any shortcomings or challenges that prevent them from being able to perform the way you’d like. Start by letting them know what the complaint was and what you feel may be a contributing factor. Then allow them to provide feedback on ways to improve your systems for the future.
Complaints are unavoidable, but with a strong complaint management system in place, you can turn the situation into an opportunity to provide a more positive experience for your team and customers. Just like everything else in your business, your methods to manage complaints will likely need continuous improvement, but with persistence, everyone will come out stronger.