By Rhonda Campbell
The right complaint handling procedures could transform unhappy customers into satisfied customers. However, training may need to be offered to customer service representatives to achieve the positive result, but it’s worth it.
It happens to nearly every company. At one point or another, a customer is going to complain, letting you know how displeased she is with one or more of your products or services. Let an unhappy customer be in a particularly nasty mood when she complains about your products or services, and it might take all of your patience and focus to remain professional and kind while interacting with the customer, challenging your complaint handling skills.
Tips on Dealing with Unhappy Customers
As much as you might be tempted to tell a customer off, don’t. The customer could leave your online or offline business and go tell their family, friends and colleagues how unprofessional and difficult you were. If the people the customer relays this information to, however inaccurate the information might be, place a lot of trust in the customer, you could end up losing dozens or more customer sales.
To avoid this and other pitfalls associated with dealing with unhappy customers, consider taking the following complaint handling steps:
- Train your employees on how to deal with unhappy customers and improve their complaint handling skills. If you use a professional answering service to handle customer telephone inquires/complaints, work with managers at these firms to develop talking points answering service workers can use.
- Repeat unhappy customers’ concerns, demonstrating that you heard the customers (this can go a long way; people appreciate knowing that their opinions/complaints were heard)
- Assure unhappy customers that you will work hard to resolve the problem
After you get details on what’s upsetting unhappy customers, let the customers know the specific steps you will take to correct the issue. This is a key complaint handling step as customers don’t like to feel as if a company has left them “waiting for an answer”. Also, track customer complaints. Over time, you might notice trends. For example, you might notice that customers are unsatisfied with your company’s shipping and handling services or the fact that popular products typically run out before major sales you’re running end.
If you take steps to resolve customer complaints using communication and decisive action, you might be able to avoid offering unhappy customers special deals or free products as an additional way to appease them. This is important, because you don’t want to encourage unhappy customers to get in the habit of complaining in order to get free products or products at steep discounts.
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