Customer Complaints are an opportunity.
Mistakes happen. It’s a fact of life. Customer Complaints will come – what’s critical is how you handle them.
When you mention the words “customer complaints” many people cringe because it’s something that they hate dealing with.
By employing the right approach, it can be a very exciting and rewarding marketing opportunity for your business.
According to a professionally conducted survey, 26 out of 27 people who experience problems with a company don’t complain. That works out to be only 4% of disgruntled customers complain. Of those 96% who don’t complain most of them stop doing business with that organisation.
But — with the people who DO complain, 56 — 70% will continue to do business with your company if you resolve the complaint. i
If you resolve the complaint quickly 96% will stay with you. Studies also show that the most loyal customers are ones who have previously had a problem with a company but that problem was resolved quickly.
Best Ways on How To Handle Customer Complaints
Step 1: Thank them for taking the time to provide feedback.
Thank them because it gives you an opportunity to ensure they are delighted but also to ensure that you can keep improving the quality of service so all customers have a great experience.
Step 2: Let them vent. Show empathy.
When they have finished, ask them is there anything else they’re not happy with. Listen attentively. Show them you’re on their side.
Step 3: Once you understand their concerns (and not before) THEN apologise.
Step 4: Do not give excuses.
It doesn’t matter whether there was a 3 day long power blackout, whether transport workers went on strike, whether your computer blew up or there was a hurricane. People don’t care why a mistake happened. When mistakes happen they want an apology and a solution not an excuse.
Step 5: Ask what the customer would like you to do to fix the situation.
The reason why you ask this is that this puts the ball back in their court so it ensures the measures you take are the measures they want. In most situations, what they want is less than you think.
Step 6: Take ownership of the problem and personally take action to fix it right away.
Ensure that every team member has the authority to immediately rectify the mistake and compensate the customer or gift them something that makes up for the error.
Step 7: Rectify first. Figure out the cause later.
Speed is of the essence. Your customer will appreciate the fact that your biggest concern is making them happy.
Step 8: Follow up.
The next most important thing you can do AFTER fixing the mistake is to follow-up with the customer a few days later. By following up and making sure that the situation has resolved itself and that the customer is happy, you’re showing that you DO care about their happiness.
4 More Important Points to Consider:
1. Encourage people to complain
Customers often don’t want to make trouble by complaining so they won’t.
If instead, you encourage customers to be up-front about what they like and what they don’t like, you’ll nip any problems in the bud before they turn into big challenges for your business.
2. Regularly find out what they think
An important way to keep on top of any niggling annoyances is to regularly ask for customer feedback in a pro-active way.
3. Create a “no fault” culture
Nobody likes to be punished for mistakes they’ve made. Your team members are no different. Instead, have a “no fault” policy at your business. With that, the biggest focus for them is when mistakes happen, do everything they possibly can to rectify the problem for the customer. That’s their biggest priority.
4. When you notice the problem first:
If a problem occurs and you detect it before your customers do, make sure you own up and tell them immediately. Tell them what went wrong. Tell them why it went wrong. Tell them the measures you have put in place to fix the problem.
Then — tell them that you acknowledge that this has inconvenienced the customer and as a way of apologizing for the mix-up you would like to give them a gift of X.
Summary of Key Points
Rectify mistakes instantly.
Apologise – but never blame.
Give team members the authority to fix mistakes personally themselves.
Encourage regular feedback so that small problems don’t become big ones.
Follow-up to ensure the problem has been fixed & the customer is happy.
Develop a set procedures for the handling of complaints to ensure there is consistency