In any type of business, handling customer complaints would be considered as one of the most difficult to deal with. It is not always easy to determine at the onset whether a complaint is valid or not, but for whatever it’s worth, you should deal with the situation in a manner that is discreet and professional.
Why Do Customers Complain?
Most of the time customers complain not because there is something wrong with your product or service, but because of a lack of knowledge of how they work. Likewise, simple neglect of their feelings and emotions may cause them to amplify a situation than it truly is. Worse is when they express their complaints to the public, such as in social media, creating a negative impact on your business.
How Customer Complaints Help Improve Your Business?
The best gauge of your customer service is customer feedback. One way of collecting feedback is through direct solicitation, such as a survey. The other is unsolicited, such as a customer complaint. Between the two, customer complaints provide you much truthful information about your customer’s experience with your business.
Customer complaints quickly point you to customer service errors in the system. And the more you can identify them, the easier and faster you can correct these errors. An improved system, in return, enhances your relationship with customers, turning them to happy ambassadors of your business.
What are the Best Tips for Handling Customer Complaints?
As a general rule, customer complaints must not be taken personally. Understand that customers have different manners of complaining, and knowing what they are will help in making the complaints-handling process much easier and quicker to resolve.
Here are some of the best tips for handling customer complaints:
- Do Not Interrupt The Customer. You may find that the more you act defensive on a complaining customer, the more they become irate. Simply allow them to speak up.
- Pay Attention to the Complaint. When customers are upset and complaining, their emotions get in the way of getting to the point. By being attentive, you will be able to pick up the right cues and determine right away what the complaint is all about.
- Avoid Challenging Their Complaint. No matter how you find the complaint to be invalid, avoid challenging it. Instead, lead the customer to the information that you may believe to be the true complaint.
- Have a Supervisor Attend to the Complaint. If the person attending to the customer is not in the best position to make or decide on a resolution, then allow the case to be escalated to a manager. Most of the time, the customer will feel better immediately and becomes more responsive to a resolution.
- Thank The Customer. Thank the customer for bringing the complaint to your attention.
- Apologize with Sincerity and Acknowledge Their Complaint. Nothing soothes an irate customer faster than hearing a sincere apology from you. Then, follow-up your apology with an acknowledgment of the complaint and assure that you will provide a resolution.
- Keep a Mild-Mannered Tone. Your highly-strung customer will mellow down eventually when you respond to them in a low but professional tone.
- Seek The Best Solution. Ask the customer for the solution they seek. Sometimes, when they sense your sincere apologies, they will ask for something less than what you would initially think you would give. If the solution they want is not practical based on how your business operates, suggest a similar solution that can address the same issues.
- Come Up With an Agreement. Agree to arrive at a solution that will satisfy the customer. If it will appease the customer, even more, have your suggested solution in writing as reference material for follow-up on the case.
- Take Immediate Action. Provide a specific time when the customer can expect a solution to take place. If the solution will take the time or will be resolved in several steps, inform the customer what to expect along the way.
- Follow–Up. Make a regular follow-up on the customer until their satisfaction has been fully met. Likewise, follow up on others that you have enlisted for the solution delivery.
- Adjust Your System. One way of learning from the incident is by adjusting your system of operations to avoid the same complaint from happening.
Some businesses treat certain customer complaints as a simple “isolated case” where even after resolving it, they avoid making necessary changes in their system, no matter how simple or little that would be. If you’re having trouble with handling your customer service, you could always consider hiring an answering service. Giving your full attention whenever a customer complains happens, not only helps you improve the quality of your customer service but also turns an irate customer into a loyal patron.