“No company satisfies all of its customers all of the time. But how a company handles complaints makes a big difference in its ability to retain current customers.” Ron Zemke
Customers today have many options to choose their buying experiences. With each and every buying experience, the customer may sometime encounter a problem.
When customers feel dissatisfied, they have two options on how to continue the relationship with the service provider. The customer can either share their feedback or they can walk away and never come back.
We must view customers complaints as golden opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the customer. In some places, service providers look at complaints as burden rather than something they can actually benefit from.
Complaining customers are still talking to us, giving us another chance to recapture their experiences with our product and services.
So what can we do to ensure we have a place for customer to share their experiences with us?
Here are some ideas to help create a complaint-friendly service culture:
Recognize customer’s concerns
Our customers concerns have to be heard and acknowledged. That’s what relationships are all about. Customers more than any other time want a relationship of trust.
How can we establish trust without the ability to listen and hear the customer? A great way to recognize the customer concern is by saying, “I sense you are concerned about….How may I help with that?” or “I can see this is very frustrating…let me assist you with that issue.”
The last thing the customer would like to hear is blaming someone else for their concerns. Own it right away. You can diffuse a lot of anger from the customer perspective when you take responsibility for any mishaps.
When you take responsibility, you communicating you care not to pass buck and you understand it’s not the customer fault. You can alleviate a lot of anger by ensuring accountability and a sincere apology to the customer as they also understand we are not perfect, but we are willing to admit our mistakes.
Communicate what you are going to do
Once you took responsibility and apologized, the customer would like to know how we can solve their concern to their satisfaction. A great way to communicate that you are willing to resolve the customer concern is by saying, “Let me tell you what I’m going to do to follow through on your concern immediately..”
It shows a sense of urgency and you are communicating with the customer how you are going to take care of the issue. Sometimes, we just assume that we know what the customer wants and failed to have a dialogue on the resolution. The resolution should be an agreement that exceeds the customer expectations.
I would love to read your suggestions for a customer complaint-friendly culture: