Customer complaints are something that every business has to deal with at some point – no matter how brilliant their service or product may be. Today’s customer is a lot more demanding than they were even a few years ago, and they have far more tools at their disposal too. While investing in a good customer complaints management system will ensure that you are always prepared to handle any type of potentially negative feedback, it is also good to remember that the simplest approaches can make the most difference.
Simplifying Customer Complaints Management
All too often, especially in busy companies that have to deal with a great many tasks (most of them backed by procedures and systems), it is easy to forget that customers are at the end of the day people just like ourselves. When a customer complaint is made, what they are nearly always seeking is a resolution – not a battle. With that in mind, here are some of the simplest, people-friendly steps that you can take when dealing with complaints…
- Listen – customers want to be heard, and all too often, they are not. Listen to what they have to say without interruption, and make sure that they have their chance to tell their side of the story.
- Thanks – you would be surprised at how far a simple thank you goes for bringing up the issue in the first place. It shows that you are welcoming their feedback, and that you are open to discussion.
- Apology – the worst thing you can do with a customer complaint is to get defensive, or angry – let alone irritated. Let them know that you are sorry that they have been put in whatever situation they are currently in, with a simple apology.
- Solutions – ask how you can make things right, rather than fobbing them off with a generic solution that is not really much help at all. All too often, they do not want much at all, besides a simple acknowledgement and apology.
- Resolution – once you have determined the best solution, resolve to bring that solution to the table in order to make the situation better. You have to actually make sure that you do what you say, basically.
- Action – this is no time to delay or drag your feet. Acting quickly is the best way to turn an unhappy customer into a happy one. Waiting too long means more risk of angry social media attacks too.
- Feedback – after you have put your solution into plan, follow it up by making sure that the customer is happy with the outcome. You want positive feedback here – if there are still bad feelings, find out why. Mostly, you want to ensure that the customer knows that you have them in mind.
These steps should never replace a comprehensive complaints software procedure of course. By keeping them top of mind when dealing with any client interaction however, or even printing it out to have your customer service reps read, you will remember that customer complaints require a good dose of humanity, compassion and empathy too.