Handling customer complaints

We all get them, whether it’s justified or not, customers complaining is a part of business life. If you aren’t making mistakes, you’re not trying hard enough anyway. Dealing with them is a tough job for most business people. Often, if handled correctly, turn out to be loyal customers because of the service given as a result of the complaint. When dealing with a complaint, you should:
  • Listen to the complaint carefully, let the caller have their initial say without interruption. Even if you can’t solve the problem, you still need to listen.
  • Take special care and make it clear that you’re glad they did call you and give you the chance to put whatever’s wrong right (often people don’t call to complain, they just go elsewhere, meanwhile telling everybody who will listen about the lousy service they experienced with your company).
  • Maintain good body language. The way you stand and look at a customer can speak more than words. Maintain eye contact and don’t cross your arms over your chest, if you are feeling defensive. Avoid the urge to roll your eyes, if you are feeling frustrated. Instead, nod and smile, no matter how irritated you may feel. This shows you value their opinion and their business.
  • Apologise. Demonstrate that you completely understand their frustration and will work diligently on a solution.
  • If a customer has problem that could have been prevented, such as an overcooked steak, then the best route to take after an apology is to offer them some sort of compensation. What is a freebie that won’t cost you much money, but will go a long way to assure future business?
  • At the end of the call ensure the next activity is agreed with the caller, written down and followed through whether it be a freebie or another action.
  • Obviously follow through with the agreed activity.