Thank your customers for complaining
One of the situations people hate most is dealing with customer complaints.
This is too bad because customer complaints offer a goldmine of information to companies, if they deal with them effectively.
The first step to making better use of customer complaints is to view them in a positive light. Start by calling them “feedback” rather than complaints. Then make sure your policies and procedures show that customer feedback is valued by the company, not something to sweep under the rug.
When handling a customer complaint you need to take it seriously. See the customer as offering feedback, not as criticizing you or your employer. Don’t get defensive!
Let the customer know you value their feedback. Take notes and ask questions so you understand what frustrated them. If you don’t understand the problem you’ll never be able to fix it.
Never offer excuses or blame for a situation the customer is unhappy with. They don’t care how it happened. They just want it fixed.
Of course you should always apologize to a customer who has a complaint or concern. Remember, by apologizing you’re not taking blame for causing the situation. But you are taking responsibility for moving past it to a solution. And that’s what the customer wants.
Warning: Never apologize like this:
“I’m sorry if you feel that way”
(Or some variant of this theme.)
That’s a cop-out. That’s saying you really don’t care about their dissatisfaction.
It’s better to say “I’m sorry this happened” or simply: “I’m sorry”.
Never offer a discount on future products or services as a way of compensating them. That’s like telling them “I understand you’re not happy with our service (or product). Why don’t you come back for more but at a lower price?”
If you want your customers to come back after they’ve had a problem, assure them you’ll fix it. Otherwise you’ve given them no reason to come back.
And finally, thank your customers for their feedback. Over 90% of unhappy customers never complain or offer feedback directly. They’ll tell their friends, family, neighbors and the Internet. But they won’t tell you.
So when a customer DOES take time to tell you, let them know how much you appreciate their efforts. They are going out of their way to help your company do better. And they want your company to do better because they want to remain a loyal customer.
Honor their efforts by listening, by apologizing, by using their feedback to fix the problem and by thanking them.
The article was written by Kevin Stirtz