Customer complaints are an unavoidable challenge that any business inevitably face sooner or later.
Your team will be working hard to maintain a high standard of business in order to prevent customer discontent, however the reality of human error renders total satisfaction amongst every customer impossible.
Once in a while, a slip-up will occur, and a customer will make sure that any inconvenience the mistake caused them is known to your organisation. A customer complaint could be in the form of a disgruntled phone call, a strongly worded email, a targeted social media post or even an in-person confrontation.
Chris Lowe from insight6 shares his expert opinion in how to change a customer complaint into custom:
The folly of most companies however, is in immediately disregarding these complaining customers as lost business. By sending complaining customers away with a partial refund or some other form of compensation and thinking no further about them, many companies are missing out on a chance to improve precarious business relationships, and in doing so, strengthening their reputation.
In fact, statistics show that those who complain when dissatisfied with customer treatment are more likely to want to continue a business relationship with your organisation than those who do not complain.
How do you handle customer complaints in your business?
1. Clean up the first response
Before responding to an irate customer, consider their position. Nobody contacts the complaints department of a business because they want to. The reason for the call is likely to be because the caller is upset due to what they consider to be sub-par treatment from your company. Whether or not this upset is justified is, at the first point of contact, irrelevant. Your position when hearing out the complaint should come from one of total un-bias; good customer service employees are willing to listen and accept the customer’s story at face value instead of immediately attempting to negate it.
2. Get the apology right
According to Forum Corporation’s research, 70% of customers leave a business because they feel the company doesn’t care about them. If a customer complains, it is because they feel they have been wronged by your organisation, and are seeking amends. The first step towards righting any wrong is an apology. Unfortunately, a large percentage of corporations and brands do not understand how to make a sincere apology, leaving customers disinclined to believe they are genuinely sorry.
To simplify this grey area, there is a formula for a proper apology that can be taught to your customer service team as a guideline when speaking with disgruntled clients
3. What does the customer want from the complaint?
Customers complain for a few different reasons: to express their dissatisfaction, to release their frustration, and to receive some compensation for their struggle. An apology will go a long way, but to ensure a customer does not move their business elsewhere, compensation can be a necessary part of smoothing over the issue.
An effective method of letting a customer feel they have been appropriately compensated is to personalise their reward to them. Instead of a generic partial refund, or company-branded merchandise, find the root of their initial complaint and tailor the offer around it.
At insight6, our Customer Experience Directors (CXD’s) have found time and again that one of the most significant positive changes a business can make to turn enquiries into confirmed clients is to follow-up. The follow-up is a simple and effective tool, comprising of a simple phone call or email one to three days after a client conversation. In this follow-up call or email, the client’s name should be used, details of their enquiry should be peppered in, and a plan should be established to secure further business.
Find out more at insight6