Customer complaints are often a company owner’s worst nightmare. Up against an agitated customer, many business managers just shut down, either tiptoeing around communicating with the customer or providing unhelpful or unsympathetic answers. This is understandable because often getting a customer complaint can be an intimidating prospect, especially as most disgruntled punters are inclined to share their unhappiness in a less than ideal manner.
The following tips can help in keeping your customers.
Tip 1 – Stay Objective
The best way to take on any customer complaint is to leave your emotions out of it. Calmly listen to what they are saying, then just as calmly reply and react to them, and don’t get defensive. The customer is not attacking you personally; he or she is upset over a problem stemming from interacting with your business.
Tip 2 – Listen and Show That You’re Listening
The more information you can get from the customer, the better you will understand his or her point of view. While listening, it’s easy and – quite frankly – natural to want to tell a customer they are wrong in what they are saying. However, this will not improve the client’s mood or the situation in any way. Once you have gathered enough background on the issue, let the customer know you hear what he or she is saying. Repeat back what you hear to show that you have listened.
Tip 3 – Acknowledge The Problem
If you or your company had a slip-up, admit it.
If not and it was a misunderstanding, explain it to the customer: “I can see how that would be incredibly frustrating for you.” You are not necessarily agreeing with what the customer is saying, but respecting how he or she perceives and feels about the situation.
An excellent phrase for maintaining an open discussion would be, “So, if I understand you correctly…” After the customer responds, follow up with, “I can see how that must be frustrating for you.” Then be quiet. Usually, the customer will respond with “That’s right” or “Exactly.” By repeating to the customer what you think you heard, you lower his or her defences and win the right to be heard.
Tip 4 – Thank Your Customer
Rather than fake a smile and pretend to care, show your sincerity by letting them know you are grateful for their complaint and concern. For example, you can tell them right off the bat that you appreciate them taking the time to talk to you about their concern, and you want to make sure you understand what they are saying. This lets them know you have their best interest at heart while also finding out more about their issue.
Tip 5 – Take Action
As the old saying goes “actions speak louder than words”, put your customer’s voice into action and offer a potential solution. Or if there is none, provide support. Your customer will feel heard and more resolved if they see that their complaint has made an impact on your business, even if only temporary. One thing to keep in mind: Know what you can and cannot do within your company’s guidelines. Making a promise that you cannot commit to will only set you back.
Remember to stay courteous and respectful when providing a solution and demonstrate responsibility and willingness to resolve the issue, even when the situation was out of your control.