How To Deal With Customer Complaints

How To Deal With Customer Complaints

What do you do when you receive a customer complaint?

Do you curse, bury the complaint under the carpet or do you face it head on?

 written by Robert Viney @RobertViney

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How To Deal With Customer Complaints  -  In 6 Steps 

In this article, I will show you how to deal with customer complaints effectively to the satisfaction of the customer and in a way that will benefit your business, too  -  a way that will turn complaining customers into loyal customers who will keep returning to buy more.

 

Customer Complaints Are Inevitable

It does not matter how well you run your business, you will inevitably receive customer complaints from time to time. It is inevitable - even the very best get them.

But how we deal with these complaints can be crucial to business growth and every business owner must have a good strategy in place.

How To Deal With Customer Complaints

It does not matter how well you run your business, you will inevitably receive customer complaints from time to time. It is inevitable - even the very best get them.

But how we deal with these complaints can be crucial to business growth and every business owner must have a good strategy in place.

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How You Think & How You React Is Important

How you think about customer complaints and how you react to customer complaints can determine how you will deal with them.

There are generally two possible scenarios that could occur.

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SCENARIO 1

A customer complaint could involve you thinking the following?

  • These customers are always trying to get free stuff.

  • It is impossible to please some customers.

  • Customers are never happy and are so negative.

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If you have these thoughts, do you react as follows?

  • Tremble with fear and have a ‘melt-down’

  • Ignore the complaint

  • Respond rudely to the customer

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SCENARIO 2

Or does your customer complaint make you think this?

  • This customer is obviously not happy with us, we must deal with this quickly

  • This complaint is an opportunity for us to learn about our customer experience

  • This complaint is an opportunity to make improvements

  • It is a hassle to complain, this customer must care about us to take the trouble to complain

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If you have these thoughts, do you react as follows?

  • Contact the customer and engage

  • Try to understand the situation

  • Sort the issue to the satisfaction of the customer

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Whether you adopt scenario 1 or 2 could determine how well you can retain customers.

Scenario 1 would almost certainly lose you customers in the long term and will affect your customer retention and customer loyalty prospects. Generally, customers who complain and don’t have their complaint dealt with quickly and to their satisfaction will not return to your business and are likely to ‘bad mouth’ you to their friends and associates and on social media.

Scenario 2 could almost certainly create more customers, boost your customer numbers, your retention and your customer loyalty, if you deal with a complaint in the right way.

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Many Businesses Adopt Scenario 1

In my experience, many businesses, both large and small, adopt and act out Scenario 1 to their detriment but the ones that adopt Scenario 2 can nearly always turn a bad situation into a good one.

This is an important statistic:

‘70% of customers who complain will return to the company to buy more and become loyal customers if the complaint is dealt with in the right way’

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In my considerable years of running businesses, I have used Scenario 2 to sort our few complaints right and it has given me the opportunity to engage and to get to know the customer personally and to sort their unhappiness. Importantly, though, I have managed to retain such customers.

But the occasion has also given me the opportunity to strengthen a ‘weak’ part of the business; then, not only does the customer gain, but my business gained, too.

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As Bill Gates has often said:

“Your unhappiest customers are your best source of learning”

This is so true.

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I Recommend This 6 Step Strategy For How To Deal With Customer Complaints

For dealing with customers complaints, use the following 6 step strategy:

  1. Engage & listen to your customer to understand the complaint - engage promptly and listen to what the customer is saying before commenting

  2. Understand the customer’s position - try to see the situation from the customer’s position and try to diffuse the situation by saying something like “I can understand how you feel”

  3. Take ownership of the complaint & suggest a remedy - once you understand the situation, tell the customer that you will sort things and suggest an action

  4. Always do what you promise - having told the customer your remedy and they have accepted your proposal, deliver the remedy quickly in the way that you have promised

  5. Always follow up with the customer - once you have delivered the remedy, you must always contact the customer to ensure that they are happy

  6. Put things right - you must always repair that part of the business that has created the complaint, so that complaints do not happen again. This will involve reviewing your customer experience

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Adopt Scenario 2 with the right thinking and reaction and use this 6 step strategy and you will almost certainly be able to

‘Use Customer Complaints To Build Customer Loyalty’

How To Deal With Customer Complaints

Focus On The Customer & The Customer Experience

I have always managed to keep complaints to the minimum by always focusing heavily on the customer and the customer experience to always keep improving. But, when things do go wrong, I have always used Scenario 2.

I strongly suggest you do the same.

Best of luck!

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If you wish to talk to me further about this, please contact me below or email me at: robert@prestigebusinesscoaching.co.uk

Robert Viney, Prestige Business Coaching, successful entrepreneur of 30 years, business coach, business tips, business advice
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Posted in Business Blog.

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