Your company would never flourish without a strong customer base. This is why customer service is so essential. People are more outspoken about their encounters with companies – whether positive or poor – than ever before, thanks to the Internet and social media. In other words, it is necessary to listen and respond to customer complaints.
Despite all the efforts to run the company, there would always be mistakes once in a while. Given that only one out of every 26 unhappy customers report back to the company and that an unhappy customer would tell about 15 people about their bad experience, you’ve probably already lost a lot of potential customers.
Nobody enjoys dealing with consumer issues, but they can also be an opportunity for you and your company to shine. This is your chance to build a customer who will be pleased and loyal for the rest of their life.
While providing excellent customer service should always be a priority, here are four steps to handle customer complaints if you ever encounter one.
Recognize the problem
After you’ve listened to them out, accept the issue and note it down. Rephrase your customer’s words and repeat them to make sure you understand the whole problem. This also makes them believe that you’re willing to listen and aware of what is going on.
Recognizing the issue does not imply that you agree with the customer’s point of view; rather, it indicates that you consider and value their viewpoint. Therefore, you should say things like, “I realize this must be very difficult for you,” or “If I understand you correctly…” before paraphrasing the complaint.
Show your apology
While it will be tough, swallowing your pride and apologizing for your customer’s bad experience. Apologizing, like acknowledging, does not imply that you agree with the consumer or accept responsibility.
Thanking your customer for reaching out with their problem may seem counterintuitive. However, in fact, it demonstrates that you’re still looking for ways to better your business. Furthermore, it shows that you appreciate their perspective and are prepared to help them solve their problems.
After you’ve listened to your customer’s complaint and given them time to calm down, it’s your turn to take the lead and gather all the facts. Now begin with questions for clarity in a relaxed manner. Then, continue with a sincere dialogue with your client. You would have gained your customer’s confidence by being kind, listening, remembering, and apologizing.
However, you mustn’t ask questions that your client has already answered. Making them repeat themselves will exacerbate the feeling that you weren’t paying attention in the first place.
The final step to handle customer complaints is to respond as soon as possible. Once you’ve collected all of the data you need, it’s time to develop a solution that will satisfy every related stakeholder, particularly your customer. With a good solution, you’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief when your customer is happy.
It’s essential to be adaptable in this situation. You should always follow the company’s policies and instructions. But it’s also crucial to go above and beyond for your customers. Never propose a solution that you cannot implement, for it would just set you back. Perhaps a small gift card or a discount on future purchases would suffice to calm things down. You may also offer to replace the item for free or upgrade their membership or buy in the future.
Allow the staff to make decisions independently while trying to find a solution. Passing an angry customer up a chain of command can exacerbate the problem, so it’s best to avoid it whenever possible.
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