Unhappy customers are bad news for any organisation. It only takes one of them to shatter a perfectly good day at work for everyone. It only takes one of them to steer many more prospective customers away from you. Unhappy customers have their reasons. Some don’t feel well, some have unrealistic expectations, and others may just have lousy dispositions.
The customer may not always be right, but he or she will always be the customer we want and we need. So we need to take control of customer complaints and turn them to our advantage.
Tips on Handling Customer Complains
- Do not let time lapse and make things worse with your avoidance. Approach them, once you hear of the problem.
- Listen Intently: Listen to the customer, and do not interrupt them. They need to tell their story and feel that they have been heard.
- Thank Them: Thank the customer for bringing the problem to your attention.
- Apologize: Sincerely convey to the customer your apology for the way the situation has made them feel. This is not the time for preachy reasons, justifications or excuses; you must apologize, especially when your organization is responsible for the problem.
- Seek the Best Solution: Determine what the customer is seeking as a solution.
- Reach Agreement: Seek to agree on the solution that will resolve the situation to their satisfaction. Your best intentions can miss the mark completely if you still fail to deliver what the customer wants.
- Take Quick Action: Act on the solution with a sense of urgency.
- Follow-up: Follow-up to ensure that the customer is completely satisfied, especially when you have had to enlist the help of others in delivering the solution.
Problems happen. It is how you honestly acknowledge and handle them that counts with people. Customers will remember you, and happily give you another chance to delight them when you choose to correct problems with the very best you can offer, proving you value them and their businesses.
Nwakerendu Ike is a Communications professional with over a decade experience in managing corporate communications and customer service. He is also a communications scholar with several articles in the area of development communication.
Ike is also a relationship mentor, and a blogger.