How to Handle Customer Complaints

Here are seven easy to follow rules to help you when things don’t go to plan with your customers.

Complaint handling file

1. Be Prepared

You can please some of the people all the time, but you’ll never manage to please all of the people all the time. There will be unhappy customers – that’s the way life is. There’s not a lot you can do about it – or is there?

Being prepared to make concessions to keep your customers happy may seem like poor business sense at first glance, but think of it this way; if you make them happy today, they’ll reward your efforts by doing business with you time and time again. Putting yourself in your customers’ shoes will pay off in the long run.

2. Be Ready with a “Quick Fix”

Dissatisfaction multiplies at a rapid rate! Have you ever complained and waited – and waited – and waited for someone to get back to you? The whole time you’re impatient and disgruntled the problem seems to grow bigger. Let your unhappy customer know that you are getting right on the problem. Even if it can’t be fixed immediately, he’ll know that it’s important and a high priority.

3. Be Professional

One angry customer plus one angry customer service agent doesn’t add up to a great solution. Forget about the mannerisms of the ticked customer, and keep your cool. Often a professional and calm response will in turn calm and quiet the tirade of the unhappy customer. This response is much more likely to get the results you are looking for.

4. Be Responsible

Go ahead and take the responsibility for the problem, even if it wasn’t your fault. “I’m sorry,” goes a long way toward fixing the problem. Once you’ve apologized for the inconvenience your customer has experienced, you can get down to the difficult business of fixing the problem. It never pays to fix the blame or make excuses. Customers see right through it, and respect honesty rather than excuses. Keep your credibility intact with a simple apology.

5. Be Considerate

Disgruntled customers often fear their complaints will be overlooked and overreact to get the attention they feel they deserve. Let them be surprised with the sincere consideration you give to the problem, and watch their anger dissipate. They’ll walk away from a possibly explosive situation with a pleasantly surprised attitude. They’ll remember that much longer than the problem that brought them to you in the first place.

6. Be Confirming

It pays to double check on the satisfaction of a one-time dissatisfied customer. You may even want to reinforce a good relationship with them by offering a special discount on their next purchase. Getting them back in the habit of shopping with you can only benefit your business in the long run.

7. Be Attentive to the Cause of the Problem

Once the customer has been pacified it’s time to get to the root of the problem. Chances are pretty good that others have been unhappy about the same problem, but haven’t vocalized a complaint – at least to you. They may very well take the time to gripe to their friends! Take the time to fix the cause of the problem to avoid similar complaints in the future.

Don’t let customer complaints get you down or cause you to lose future business. In a few minutes you can turn their frown upside down, and make loyal customers out of the most disgruntled. It just takes keeping your head on your shoulders, and implementing these steps to ensure positive results.

About the Author

Ellen Goodwright is a freelance writer and customer service raving fan! You can find more tips for improving your customer service at her website Customer Service Basics.

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