Top 7 Customer Service Tips to Handle Complaints and Keep Customers HappyBy Robert Moment
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If customers are the lifeblood of businesses, then customer complaints are the antidote to a thriving business. Or, is it? While many businesses fear the onslaught of complaints from customers, in truth, proper handling of these complaints can work to a business’s advantage.
Whenever a customer complains, he is in fact handing you a lesson in how to please others for add-on business. So, take advantage of this opportunity with these seven customer service tips on how to handle complaints and keep your customers happy.
- Act Quickly
When a customer complains, the best way to appease the customer’s bad feelings is to act on it quickly. Remunerate customers as fast as possible with a refund when appropriate, or offer an apology. Acting swiftly to correct the wrong consoles the customer and imbibes them with a sense of loyalty as well. You can be sure the customer will want to shop with you again because you handled his complaint timely and correctly.
- Respond to Complaints Professionally
It’s easy to get carried away with a petulant customer and brush him off completely, but that could be costly for your business. Instead, take charge of the situation by being polite and listening intently to the customer’s problem. Taking this approach has a calming influence on the upset customer and more often than not, allows him to see reason and leave knowing that he’ll return again to do business with you.
- Send Out Customer Survey Forms
This is important to ferret out customers who are unhappy with your business for some reason, but aren’t voicing their concerns. Rather than losing them for good to your competitors, get them to fill out customer survey forms and follow up with a phone call to as many of these customers as possible. Not only will this keep your customers happy, but you will have discovered new ways of fine-tuning certain aspects of your business.
- Thank Those Who Complain
This may sound odd to many, but customers who complain are doing you a service by helping you improve your business. The least any business should do is to thank them wholeheartedly. It may take these customers by surprise, but a simple “thank you” can lighten the atmosphere and allow unhappy customers to have a change in attitude and become your most loyal customers.
- Reassure The Customer
Customers who complain very often feel aggrieved that their complaints come to naught because no one is listening. To tackle this situation, recap to the customer what you’ve just heard and then deliver an assessment of how you’re going to tackle the problem and inform him when it can be resolved. Many businesses are too quick to respond with an “Ok, I’ll fix that,” without the reassurances the customer sorely needs.
- Provide A Space For Customers To Vent Their Frustrations
I don’t mean a physical space, though that could work in the most extreme of cases, but create an avenue for them to vent their frustrations without getting in the way. Only when they’ve settled down, then approach them with your questions to determine the cause of their problems. This works very well to get to the bottom of the situation without getting embroiled in unnecessary confrontations.
- Track Customer Complaints
Once a customer has filed a complaint, it’s best to ensure that the particular complaint never arises again. The best way to do this is to track complaints, unearth its root cause and make sure it’s addressed once and for all. Tracking complaints can usually identify a pattern, giving you vital information to potential problems and addressing them before a customer can raise the issue. Let your customers know that you have such a system in place and they’ll appreciate the fact that you really care about catering to their happiness.
Robert Moment is an innovative customer service consultant, business coach and author of “Invisible Profits: The Power of Exceptional Customer Service”. Visit http://www.customerservicetrainingskills.com and sign-up for the FREE 5 day e-course “Creating Wow Customer Service Experiences”.
Article Submitted On: September 28, 2007