Anyone who has ever worked in business knows there are bound to be customer service complaints. Regardless of how dedicated a company is to their customers, there will be an unsatisfied customer sooner or later.
There are several ways to successfully handling customer complaints
- Remain calm and never argue with the customer even if they are belligerent. Let the customer vent their frustration and simply listen. Be sure and make eye contact if you are face to face with a customer so they know you are paying attention. For telephone conversations, keep your voice calm at all times. Don't take any customer complaint personally. If you need to contact your manager for assistance.Never be hostile; being courteous and polite is crucial. Think about how you would like to be treated if you had an issue.
- Acknowledge the issue whether it is trivial or major and don't make excuses. Even if you disagree with the customer's reasoning, simply letting them know letting them know you are acknowledging them and their problem will often diffuse the situation.
- Apologize whether the customer is right or wrong. A sincere "I am sorry for your issue" goes a long way in getting the customer to calm down and pause. Starting off with an apology will help ensure they will listen to what you have to say.
- Clarify the issue. Ask the customer to tell you exactly what the problem is. It is difficult to resolve a problem with missing information. Repeat the information back to make sure both parties are clear.
- Offer a solution to the problem. The first offer may or may not resolve the issue, but making a first attempt is crucial in earning a customer's trust.
- Ask the customer how they would like the situation resolved if they are not satisfied with your suggestion(s). You may not be able to accommodate their request, but more often than not you can meet them in the middle. If you can offer a little extra, do so.
- Don't let the situation escalate into a bigger issue. Do what you can to immediately calm the situation. Even if it is a partial or temporary resolution, it will often keep the problem from getting worse until a permanent solution can be found. A small discount or a coupon will often go a long way.
- Send them to someone who can help if you can't. Sometimes you can't do anything directly to solve an issue for a customer. The one thing that can always be done is to send them to someone with the authority to resolve the problem.
- Thank them for being a customer. Whether the customer leaves with their problem resolved or not, say thank you. Let them know you appreciate their loyalty. They will think twice and quite likely return and do further business with the company.
- Follow up and see if the resolution has worked out well for the customer. Follow up can be a phone call, email, a letter, or checking back with the customer before they leave. If you see the customer in the future, acknowledge them with a politely hello and make sure their needs are being met.
Being courteous, polite, and offering the best customer service possible is most often the deciding factor as to whether the customer will return in the future. It doesn't matter what your business sells, it's the service provided that determines customer loyalty.