11 Jun Dealing with complaints: Making an upset customer a promoter!
Complaints and customer issues will arise in every company, no matter the product or service. How we deal with them is pivotal to gaining repeat business, and enhancing your company’s reputation. Is your company losing business and possible brand promoters because of the way complaints are dealt with? It is possible to turn a negative experience for a customer into a positive one, and even delight your clients – and this all depends on your customer service.
Service will break down. There is no such thing as Customer Service perfection. Even at Disney, a global leader in the delivery of excellent customer service….service breaks down. It is how we deal with the recovery of this service breakdown that makes the difference. Many call it the “art of service recovery” and that is a good description, because it is an art. It is an art worth practising and one worth investing time and resource in.
In Ireland and the UK, it is said that 74% of un-satisfied customers simply walk away and go elsewhere. That may be because we do not have a strong enough culture which invites complaints.
Effective and Empathetic listening?
A customer raising an issue or making a complaint needs to be listened to. It is at this early stage that staff can set the base for a great service recovery. Allowing the customer to voice their dissatisfaction and showing genuine interest and understanding goes a long way to ensuring that the customer feels that the business is taking their complaint seriously. It is therefore important that Staff in a customer facing environment understand the techniques required for effective and empathetic listening. Like all skills – they must be practised.
How can you solve it?
The compensation for each complaint should be related to the issue, and it’s important to complete the solution quickly. Staff empowerment is important and management need to set guidelines which allow staff to make on the spot decisions as well as having to pass it up the line. Generally, customer’s want their issue resolved quickly and preferably with the person with whom they made first contact. Customers will remember how you and your team dealt with their issue and if they find excellent customer service, they will be more likely to return to your company, despite their initial complaint. An inventive solution to a customer’s problem will demonstrate your company’s dedication to the customer’s experience and will be appreciated. It’s certainly asking the customer how they would like their issue resolved, and doing your best to implement that. The attitude should be “Let’s work towards a solution”.
Change our mindset towards a complaint.
A complaint can be of more benefit to a business than a compliment. Complaints can be a source of information in which a business tweaks its operation. It is therefore hugely important that we train staff to be open to complaints. “Complaints are gold if handled correctly”. Welcome complaints, deal with the complaint well and make those customers who have raised the issue so satisfied that they not only return but recommend you to others.