Handling Customer Complaints

Customer complaints are par for the course when you run a business. Though it may sound bad, this can be good news. Ultimately, customers understand that mistakes are inevitable. Every complaint is a key to creating a better way to do things.

According to SalesVantage.com, companies without quality customer service skills will sometimes focus too much on the process. The complaint is pushed through quickly so that the next complaint can be heard. However, the customer never feels that their problem was resolved to their satisfaction. This non-personalized approach leaves the customer feeling as though they’re not important. Follow these tips for effectively handling customer complaints:

1. Provide one-on-one attention. Customers who use e-mail or web contact forms to file a complaint are looking for human interaction. This is different from when a customer asks a basic question about the product or service. Complaining customers are seeking out individual attention and the online submission is only the first step to getting that.

2. When a complaint is received, especially through social media, customers expect speed from customer service. By handling issues quickly, you can solve the problem before it becomes bigger and harder to handle.

3. Respond to all complaints professionally and politely. Even non-constructive complaints have to be replied to courteously. When customers are angry, they notice every detail of how their problem is handled. If the complaint isn’t resolved on the first try, all of those details, along with the original complaint, will be relayed to the next person they speak with. Overall, this means more time goes into handling a single complaint while the customer becomes more and more dissatisfied.

4. Recap their problem so that everyone is on the same page. Miscommunication shouldn’t be the reason for a customer’s unhappiness.

5. Clearly explain what the next steps will be. How will you handle the complaint? When will you get back to the customer? How will you contact them?

6. Find a long-term solution. What can you do about the complaint that will allow you to retain and grow your client base? To create a long-term strategy for fixing problems in your system, take a look at what has worked. Use productive practices as a model and, when possible, apply those actions to your less efficient strategies.

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