Win them over! A guide to handling customer complaints
If you really want to keep your customer satisfied, you’ve got to know what he’s thinking. A complaint tells you that.
In order to survive and develop, it needs to maintain and increase sales. This is only possible if the company is able to keep its customers satisfied.
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IS CRUCIAL BECAUSE
• Satisfied customers come back. Dissatisfied customers do not come back. Worse, they tell others about the poor service.
• Satisfied customers are often “goodwill” ambassadors and help the company win more customers. Dissatisfied customers share their dissatisfaction with anyone who will listen and in the process give the organization a bad reputation.
• Potential customers will be more inclined to listen to existing and previous customers than to the organization’s marketing campaigns. The “information service” provided by dissatisfied customers can spoil the effect of even the most powerful marketing campaigns.
• Satisfied customers are a source of inspiration to the organization and serve as a contribution to giving the employees increased job satisfaction.
RESPONDING TO COMPLAINTS THE RIGHT WAY:
• Say, “thank you”.
• Explain why you appreciate the complaint.
• Apologize for the mistake.
• Promise to do something about it immediately.
• Ask for the necessary information.
• Correct the mistake- PROMPTLY!
• Check customer satisfaction.
• Prevent future mistakes.
• A simple apology, and nothing else.
• A rejection and no offer for help.
• Passed on to another department or person.
• Beating around the bush, or refusing to take responsibility that do not solve problems.
• An interrogation, where the customer is blamed for the problem.
HANDLING UPSET CUSTOMERS:
1. Pacify Client
There are stages of anger: denial and shock, blaming bargaining and acceptance. Listen to the customers when they are in the first two stages. Don’t take their anger personally. Don’t get defensive or argue with them. Ask meaningful questions. When the angry person moves to the bargaining stage, you can begin to problem solve with him/her.
2. Get into their shoes
Pacing means to get in step with someone. You might say, “You look very upset, how can I help you?” This paces emotional state of the customer.
3. Language and timing are everything
If you choose your words carefully, you can say just about anything to customers without further upsetting.
4. Form partnerships with customers.
Use the language of partnership:
“Let’s see what we can do together….”
“I know you’re upset, but I’m very happy to work with you to solve this problem.”
“Let’s do this...”
5. Share your personality.
Let customers know you are a feeling human being who is trying to help them. Tell them your name, and give them your business card. Then they know you are not trying to hide. Don’t say sorry if you don’t feel like it. Customers can read your intent.
WAYS TO WIN BACK CUSTOMER TRUST:
• Within two days, the customers should be thanked for the complaint with a promise to deal with the matter quickly and effectively.
• Within two weeks, the complaint should be handled satisfactorily.
• Writing long responses to complaint letters. Customers feel better about them. They think you are taking them seriously.
• Respond directly to the issue in their letter. Use their language, so they know you aren’t using a “canned” letter.
• Have the highest person in the company sign the letter.
• Send along some small gift if appropriate.