The lifeblood of any business is its customers. Your business cannot be successful if you do not have happy satisfied customers. With the internet and social media growing at an unprecedented pace, customers are also getting more vocal about how they feel about the businesses they interact with.
Tips on How to Handle Customer Complaints
Getting complaints from your customers is an inevitable part of doing business. However hard you try to effectively run your business and have the best customer experience, there is a 100% chance your business will receive customer complaints.
Very few unhappy customers (1 out of 26) bring their complaints to a company representative, and yet, one unhappy customer will tell at least 15 other people about their bad experience. This goes to say that you have already lost a good chunk of customers without even knowing about it.
Handling a customer complaint is not a pleasant affair; however, if you manage complaints efficiently and with the right approach, your business’s reputation will be customer-centric leading to growth and success.
Handling Complaints like a Pro
The manner in which you handle a customer complaint determines the longevity and prosperity of your business. Here are a few pointers to guide you in handling difficult customer complaints.
- Staying calm is a must – However difficult it might seem, the first thing you need to do is not to take the complaint personally and be calm with your customers. A calm state of mind will help you navigate the issues and make good progress with your customer. You might also notice an area of your business that needs improvement.
- Listen to understand – It is never a good idea to respond to a complaint in a quick fashion. A customer comes to you because they want to be heard, even if it is a trivial complaint. Take time to truly listen and understand their pain point. It is best not to make assumptions that you understand your customer’s issues and not be dismissive about them. Active listening skills will help you out of a difficult situation by letting the client vent their frustrations.
- Acknowledge and empathize – Once you have heard their problem, ensure your customer that you understand their issue and repeat it back to them to create a bond with them. Paraphrasing what your customer said to you and repeating it back to them gives your customers a feeling that you have actually heard them and understand the causes of their pain.
- Discuss and offer solutions for fixing the problem – Discuss with the customer what kind of remedy they would prefer to fix the problem. It could be an apology, refund, repair, replacement, or something else. You should always focus on what you can offer to restore the customer’s satisfaction. There is a solution to every problem, and while it might not be exactly what the customer is looking for, the option maybe enough to remedy the situation.
- Document customers’ responses – A complaint could be a hidden opportunity to improve your products or services. When you document complaints and action steps to remedy them, you will be better positioned to identify opportunities for improvements in customer experience. Ensure that you are recording all the complaints so that you can bring them up in monthly or annual meetings and discuss strategies to address the issues.
There is no way you can avoid customer complaints. They are an inherent function of any business; regardless of industry. However, by employing the strategies discussed in this article and listening to your customers, you will be able to mitigate the negative effects of those complaints and turn unhappy customers into happy loyal customers.