All businesses will eventually have to deal with negative customer feedback and playing the blame game can be tempting. But there are far better ways to manage a disgruntled customer and dealing with a complaint effectively and promptly can turn a potential loss into a new opportunity.
Be prompt As soon as you receive a complaint email/call/letter/blog etc deal with it right away regardless of its nature. Don’t be tempted to leave it.
Seek to understand Write down anything you feel is important and ask questions. Try to be open and be understanding about the situation.
Apologise In some cases it may not be legally advisable to apologise, but an ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’ or ‘I am sorry for your inconvenience’ is no admission of guilt and can go a long way to help calm the situation.
Keep your cool It goes without saying that it’s never professional to become angry or even shout at a customer, no matter how much abuse you receive. If you do find yourself losing your temper, suggest you call the client back. Give yourself time to calm down and try to be objective.
Be optimistic By keeping a positive outlook on a negative situation you allow yourself to see beyond the problem to find a workable solution rather than what can’t be done.
Show you care In today’s social media world a complaint can have far fetched consequences. Show your costumers that you care about them and work hard to resolve matters. When handled well, your most unhappy customers can become your biggest advocates.
Keep in touch For great customer service, great communication is essential. If you can’t solve a problem right away, be courteous and let them know.
Take ownership If you are at fault, take responsibility for it and do your best to solve the problem as efficiently as you can. If the fault lies with a third party, you are still your customers first point of call, so don’t be tempted to pass on the blame. Take ownership and manage the situation on behalf of your customer until its resolved.
Learn from it See complaints for what they are – a great opportunity to improve your services/product. It’s essential you understand what went wrong, then change your processes so you can be certain this won’t happen again.
When you can’t find a solution Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you may not find a solution both parties are happy with. When this happens, seek help from a solicitor or ombudsman who can offer unbiased advice and can bring a new perspective to the situation.
Which of the above strategies do you already use to deal with bad customer feedback? What did you find to be most effective?
If you are struggling to deal with complaints due to lack of time, experience or resources – we can help. With years of customer service experience under our belt we understand what customers want and can help you provide professional and seamless support services you and your customers will love. Get in touch for more details.