How do you handle complaints in your business?
In most businesses this is a problem because they do not have systems set up to handle complaints straight away, thereby creating further problems. When you are looking at your company and the way you handle complaints consider the following:
The sun never sets on a customer complaint
When a customer rings in with a problem make sure that the solution is communicated to the customer if not immediately, then before the end of the day. A minor problem one day can develop into a major issue in the mind of the customer if he has to go home without a solution.
The person who takes the call is responsible for the complaint
The customer does not want to have to tell 20 people the same story. The first person the customer tells the complaint to is now responsible. They may not have caused the problem in the first place and they may not be able to fix it but they should tell the customer to leave it with them and they will find the right people to solve the problem.
Keep the customer fully informed
You may be working like a beaver in the background solving the problem but if you do not tell the customer what is happening he will believe that nothing is happening. As soon as the solution is identified, ring the customer back and tell them how the problem will be solved.
Listen carefully to the customer
Often when a customer is irate he just wants someone to listen. If you are able to listen carefully and demonstrate that you have listened he will be much less irate and ready to listen to your solution.
Empathise with your customer
A simple technique to defuse an irate customer is to empathise with him. If you say “You know Mr Customer, if I was you I would feel exactly the same as you do”. This will take the sting out of the conversation and let you start the process of fixing the problem.
Do not over promise and under deliver
This is a very common mistake with complaint handling. If you tell your customer you will get back to him in 5 minutes and it takes 20 you have now got an even more irate customer. If you tell him that you will get back to him in 30 minutes and it takes only 20, he will be much happier.
Make sure it is easy to complain in your company
If you never get complaints Watch Out! In many companies, it is very difficult to complain and because of that, the company gets very few complaints. Dissatisfied customers who can not complain will not come back and you will never know if they had a problem or not.
Get back to the customer
When the problem is solved, the person who first took the complaint must get back to the customer to make sure he is now happy. This is usually a fun conversation to have if you have handled the complaint properly but is also a final opportunity to make sure the customer is happy.
You must treat complaints as urgent opportunities to secure a customer for life and in that way the customers will come back over and over again.