Tips for Dealing with Customer Complaints
From my point of view good customer service is directly interrelated with the way a company chooses to deal with customer complaints . Regardless of the high service levels you may offer , the methods you choose to solve problems and deal with complaints will act as a real indicator in the pursuit of service excellence .
Useful tips may help you handle customer complaints :
- Proactively manage complaints . Monitor the real service levels compared with customer expectations . When service level falls below the established standards , then assume that complaints will follow. Place a process for your reps to cohesively follow and build service recovery mechanisms for your answers ( e.g. gift vouchers, special discounts, extended periods of service etc..)
- Have into mind that what mainly annoys customers during a complaint resolution process is : length of time it takes to solve their issue, lack of information ( when the rep doesn’t know what to answer), different answers given by different reps
- Capture the data. Ensure you have an open process, an easy and accessible way for your customers to complaint in various channels and touchpoints . Invite your customers to complaint via a straightforward mechanism. Thank them for their feedback and make them feel that their effort is appreciated.
- The information you receive from a complaint must be acted upon with speed , empathy and honesty
- Ensure your people in the service roles are empowered to answer and solve issues with speed and specific actions . A complainers will always need an answer
- Listen effectively . Give your full attention and actively take in what you hear, interpret it and be able to act on it . Make a conscious effort to understand how the speaker is feeling
- Show that you are listening. Express you have received the message , clarify if needed or probe for extra information. Paraphrase what the customer has said to show you are focused on your conversation
- Ask good questions to demonstrate you are interested not only in what has happened but also in thinking about possible solutions
- Be flexible and natural. Of course there are mistakes . We all make them everywhere, but overall mistakes represent a small percentage of things that go wrong . Guiding questions keep customers focused on specifics .
- Apologize for the inconvenience has been caused to the client but avoid taking the blame without having done any investigation
- Use positive language and focus on what “you can do” for the customer
- Show you care , use empathy statements and align your tone of voice in a soft and warm pace
Dealing effectively with customers’ complaints takes work . Training your people in these skills helps them feel confident , empowered and able to make a difference . The good news is that the better people get at listening & handling complaints the more effective they will be at communicating effectively with everyone in their daily lives.
It’s a set of skills that really rewards .