From time to time customers become unhappy due to a misunderstanding or a perception they were treated badly or perhaps the service or goods did not meet their expectations. How you handle a complaint will likely determine whether you will keep the customer or lose the customer and run the risk they will bad-mouth your business to anyone who will listen. With so many review sites like Yelp and Google+, a bad experience with your business can quickly be spread to hundreds of people if not thousands.
There are three simple steps to resolve a complaint:
#1 – Determine What The Problem Is
This is half the battle. Listen to what the customer is saying. Don’t interrupt and don’t try to justify anything. Place yourself in their shoes and view the problem as they have explained it to you from their point of view – not yours.
#2 – Ask How They Would Like It Resolved
While this seems like it could be dangerous, you are still in control and by asking the simple question, “What can I do to make this right with you?” it places the ball squarely in the customer’s court and usually will take the fight right out of them. You would be surprised how many customers don’t have any idea what they want. Whatever the answer is, if it seems like a reasonable request, offer it. End the offer with a sincere apology.
#3 – Make A Concessionary Offer
If the customer’s demand is outrageous, be prepared to offer something as a concession. Avoid saying things like, “your request is unreasonable” as it only makes people more angry. Just make an offer that is to the best of your ability.
Tip: Empower your staff to resolve issues upon first contact. No one likes to wait for a call back or have to tell their story to several people. Good customer relations means one call and an immediate resolution to the problem. It’s hard to write an unfavorable review if you were treated nicely and the problem was resolved.