handling customer complaints

In every business, getting complaints from your customers is an inevitable part of doing business. No matter how thorough you are in terms of processes and quality. Chances are, you’ll find yourself in an uncomfortable situation sooner or later. And unfortunately, this isn’t something you can run away from or sweep under the rug, because the longer they wait, the more aggravated they can become.

However, it is important to see this as an opportunity to grow. It’s a double-edged sword for your company, which can either make or break your reputation. This is precisely why you need to be wise and careful in handling these kinds of situation.

How do you ensure that you end up with a loyal promoter rather than a nasty detractor? Here are 5 easy steps in handling customer complaints that you need to know by heart.

Listen to Understand, Not to Respond

For some front desk staff, this is one of the commonly missed steps which ends up leading to ghastly repercussions. When the customer begins airing his/her concerns, it is important to lend an ear and listen intently. To effectively do this, you need to stay off the defensive, as can cause you to formulate a response instead of taking the time to understand the problem. The customer needs to explain his/ her dilemma, not to listen to your rebuttals. It’s important to ensure your staff trained to deal with customers who may be highly vocal in communicating their concerns.

Empathy Goes a Long Way

In order for your customer to know that they’ve been heard, you need to empathise with them. This is an effective response especially for irate complainants as it catches them off guard, seeing you have not only listened, but have also responded whatever emotion they may be experiencing. Depending on the situation, you may opt to acknowledge their concern or follow your existing business procedures. This clears the air and makes them more receptive and cooperative in finding a suitable solution.keep an eye on body language during these exchanges, as a combative pose can be interpreted negatively by your customer.

Ask Questions and Probe Further

To effectively propose a solution, you need to ensure you understand the depth of the problem. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that will help you visualise where the customer’s issue stemmed from. This not only gives you a better grasp of the situation, but it also tells your customer that you are genuinely concerned and are looking at all angles to solve the dilemma. Moreover, this allows you to present the best remedy instead of throwing out run-of-the-mill responses, which can just make the customer mad.

Collaborate for a Solution

After you’ve fully understood every detail of the issue, it is now time to present a solution. It is essential, however, to come across as giving a suggested action rather than delivering an irrevocable decision from your end. It can sound like, “What we can do to address this is…how does this sound to you?” Using this carefully crafted statement makes them feel a sense of control and involvement over the matter, making them participate fully with an open mind.

Check Back With the Customer

Finally, checking back with your customer allows you to confirm that they have understood the resolution to be implemented and if they agree with everything that has been discussed. Aside from verifying details of the interaction, this is also the part where you can provide them further contact details should another unfortunate mishaps. Doing this will show you are on top of everything and are confident in your service.

Your customers are the lifeline of your business. Aside from being the main source of revenue, they are also effective means of publicity through word of mouth. If you are able to handle complaints amicably, they will see you as a trusted brand and you will reap the rewards in the form of loyalty and repeat business.

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