Top 7 Rules For Handling Customer Grievances
By Jonathan Farrington
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The focus of all modern management thinking and strategic business practice has to be the customer. Keep your customers happy and your sales will continue to soar - neglect them or take them for granted and your bottom line will suffer accordingly.
To respond to a customer who has several legitimate complaints you must keep these seven rules firmly in mind.
- Rule One:
Listen with understanding & sympathy. This diffuses anger and demonstrates your concern. Tell the customer something such as "I am sorry you have been inconvenienced. Tell me what happened so that I can help you”. It is vital to show a sincere interest and willingness to help. The customer's first impression of you is all important in gaining co-operation.
- Rule Two:
No matter what or who caused the problem, never, ever blame or make excuses. Instead, take full responsibility and the initiative to do whatever you can to solve the problem as quickly as possible.
- Rule Three:
Paraphrase and record what the customer tells you. Whenever you hear an important point say "let me make sure I understand; you were promised delivery on the 10th and you did not receive the product until the 1st of the following month. Is that correct?”
- Rule Four:
Find out what the customer wants. Do they want a refund, credit, discount or replacement? The customer is complaining because he/she has a problem and wants it solved as quickly as possible. Find out what their problem is so you can work towards it and not towards a solution they do not want.
- Rule Five:
Propose a solution and gain the customer’s support. When the customer tells you what he or she wants the solution is usually obvious. State your solution in a positive manner. "I will be happy to give you a full credit for it or other merchandise. Is that acceptable for you?” If it is acceptable, act promptly.
- Rule Six:
If the customer does not like your solution, ask what they would consider a fair alternative. Never let a customer lose face. If you cannot meet their request, say so, but never say they are wrong, and never get into an argument with a customer. It is vital to be considerate of the customer’s feelings and to be courteous. Sometimes the customer knows full well that there is nothing you can do. All the customer really wants is someone to hear and respect his or her point of view, and you can always give them that.
- Rule Seven:
Follow up within a few days to ensure that the customer is completely satisfied. This last tip should ensure that the relationship is strengthened and you may well gain additional business.Do remember that, a customer’s loyalty is only as strong as the success of their last contact with you.
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Jonathan Farrington is the Managing Partner of The jfa Group jf-assocs.
To find out more about the author,read his latest articles or to subscribe to his newsletter, visit:http://www.jonathanfarrington.com
Article Submitted On: August 05, 2006