Customer complaints are expected even in thriving businesses, constant reminders that there will always be opportunities for growth. The question is how to handle these complaints in such a way that both you and your customer come out as winners.
Actually, there is no sure-fire formula to effectively handling disgruntled clients. In many large businesses, staff leasing is considered the solution; a complaints department or team is created to make sure that grievance calls are addressed promptly. Sadly, even this is sometimes ineffective. When dealing with an angry customer, only four things should be observed.
Some people are simply fed up with the customer service and just need to release that pent-up emotion. The call that they make serves as their outlet and your role is to listen patiently to what they have to say, without judging them in any way. At some point during the call, your caller will calm down. That will be your cue to offer a solution, but make sure that you fully understand the problem.
Once you sense that the customer has let down his guard, repeat the problem back to him to make sure that you got it right. Getting corrected at this point should be expected because how you tell the problem may not be what your caller wants to hear. Continue this “parrot” technique of presenting the problem until the customer agrees to what you say.
With the two of you agreeing on the issue, offer an apology for what your customer has experienced. Saying sorry may have become too common in many complaints cases, but if you say it with a sincere heart, it will always have a calming effect on your caller. Follow this up with the appropriate solution and an explanation as to why the problem came up, but without putting the blame on others.
A strong assurance that the issue is an isolated case and is not a normal procedure will inspire your customer to stay with the business. In some cases, making a follow-up call a few days after the problem was resolved comes highly recommended. Not only do you get to find out if your client is satisfied with your service, your call can help bring back that all-important customer trust.
Empathy should be the first thing on your mind when handling customer complaints. It’s an important element of frontline service, and it’s crucial to resolving complaints. Nothing spells service better than effective, personalized customer service.
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