Techniques for Handling Complaints

 In Problem Solving

Techniques for Handling Complaints

Customers who are not satisfied with your product or service won’t complain to you. But they will complain about others and move their business elsewhere. Customer complaints can be managed quickly and will lead to improved business processes and repeat customers.

Once you have created a policy, you can set up a procedure to handle complaints. The procedure will ensure that complaints are handled in the same manner every time. All your employees should be able to follow the procedure.

Techniques for Handling Complaints

istockphoto x1. Listen
You can and should use active listening techniques with customers all the time. Do not assume you know the customer’s needs or wants. Don’t dismiss them either. Listen to them and pay attention to their needs. People can be frustrated and have trouble expressing their needs or concerns. Talking to your customer will allow him or her to relax. Listening to customers and letting them vent can often resolve problems.

Customers often come to you with a problem. Even though the customer’s complaint may seem trivial to you it is likely that they have some important issues and are willing to take their time reaching out to you.

Sometimes, people complain because they are having bad days. But remember that everyone has bad days. You never know what’s going on in someone else’s life.

You can usually diffuse anger and frustration by being kind and understanding. It is possible to tell your customer right away that you value their concern and want to know what they feel. This statement shows your customer that you care and are available to listen. If a customer feels that you care, it will be easier to find a solution to their complaint.

2. Recognise the issue

Recognising the problem does NOT mean you agree with the customer’s words. It simply means you understand their point of view and are open to listening. You could say, “I understand that this must be frustrating for you,” or “If you understand me …” then I will follow up with the paraphrased version of the complaint.”

Although it may seem difficult, swallowing your pride in the customer’s bad experience and apologising will make you a far better player. Just as with acknowledging, it doesn’t mean you agree with the customer or are taking responsibility.

Although it may seem counterintuitive to do so, thanking customers for reaching out will show that you are always working to improve your business. This shows that you care about their problems and are willing to help them.

Once you have listened to them, address the problem and then repeat it to them. Recognise the problem and repeat it to your customer. This will let them know you listened and you are able to understand their situation.

3. Ask questions

After listening to the customer’s complaint, and the individual has calmed down, it is your turn to get the facts. This is the right time to calmly ask questions and get clarification. Begin a conversation with your customer. You will gain trust by being kind, understanding, acknowledging and apologising to your customer.

Now is the time to gather all the information you need and find a solution that makes everyone happy. You will make your customer happier and also help you breathe a sigh relief by finding a solution that everyone can accept.

Flexibility is important here. It’s important to adhere to your company’s guidelines and protocols, but it’s equally important to be flexible with your customers. You should never offer a solution you are unable to implement. This will only make you look bad. A small gift card or discount on future purchases might be enough to ease the situation. It might be worth offering to replace the item or upgrade their membership or purchase.

Allow your employees to make their own decisions when trying to find a solution. It’s possible to make the situation worse by passing an unhappy customer up the chain of command.

4. Record their responses

Many complaints can be disguised as opportunities to improve your product or service. You can identify trends, flaws and issues by documenting them. You might need to address the problem immediately. Maybe it’s a complaint specific to a campaign that your marketing department should investigate. No matter what the reason, it is important to keep track of all customer complaints so that you can use them in the future.

You can make a list of the complaints and bring them up at monthly or annual meetings for advice about how to address the problem.

5. Follow up

Although it might not be something you want to do after working out a solution, it is important that you follow up with your customer. It shows that you care and that your customer is important to you.

You should apologise once more and ensure that you have taken care of all their needs. If the customer is satisfied, they are more likely to return to you for their services again. They will also tell friends and family about your excellent customer service.

6. Get Out of the Screen

The internet makes it possible to communicate with customers virtually, but that doesn’t mean you have to always use live chat or email. It can be a good idea to hold a video conference with customers if you offer a service such as web design, copywriting or social media consulting.

Video conferencing doesn’t have as much impact as face-to-face conversations, but it allows you to communicate emotions and other non-verbal cues. This is a great way to demonstrate that you are truly trying to solve the problem.

You may not be able to predict when the product will be available again. However, this can help you satisfy your customer’s frustration by promising them that they will let them know when it arrives. You must keep your word.

7. Keep a record of all details

You should read the complaint carefully to understand the root cause. All complaints should be kept in one place. This will allow you to identify trends and issues.

8. Act quickly

Try to resolve the matter quickly. They can escalate if you wait.

9. Keep your promises

If there is a delay in fulfilling a customer’s request, keep them informed. You shouldn’t make promises that you won’t keep.

10. Discuss the options available to fix the problem

Ask the customer for the response they want. It could be a refund, replacement, or apology. Determine if the request is reasonable.

Last Thoughts

It can be frustrating to wait patiently for a product to arrive, only to find out that it has never arrived in stock. Customers anxiously waiting for a product might call or email you repeatedly to inquire when or if it will be restocked. Learning how to deal with these complaints is imperative for your team to work with your customers kindly.

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