The longer you stay in business, the more likely it is you will receive a customer complaint, so it’s important to know how to handle them appropriately.
Managing customer complaints effectively will assist you in protecting your reputation right from the moment of receiving the complaint.
We explore how to do this below.
Consider the customer’s position
It can be difficult to hear negative feedback and you will be tempted to go on the offensive. This won’t get you the result you need and the customer may actually be highlighting an improvement you need to make to the way you operate.
When they call you, consider following these steps instead:
- Don’t assume you are in the right. Try to take an objective position while you hear the customer’s story.
- Be present right from the word go. Every argument has two sides and the most effective time to extract useful information from your client is during the first conversation.
- Let them talk – don’t butt in. You need to hear all their story to make the correct judgment.
- Listen carefully to what they are actually saying. Many arguments are started or made much worse because no one listens. Listening enables your customer to get their frustration out and lets you understand the real problem.
- Resist the urge to argue. The first conversation is a fact-finding exercise; it’s important to ignore the temptation to justify yourself.
Some people do just like ‘giving a serve’. If that’s all they’re doing, let them verbalise their frustrations. That might just be enough to keep their business. Why lose out on income just because a normally positive customer was cranky on one day?
Of course, if they contact you with repeated, unjustified complaints then you probably don’t want them as a customer.
Be careful to not burn any bridges you need in the long term.
Solve the problem
The most important step in managing customer complaints? No surprise here – solve the problem. Even if you’re unconvinced you’re in the wrong, if it’s not going to cost you much time or money then address the customer’s needs and keep them happy with your service.
Anyone can argue – you stand out from the competition if you fix the problem instead. This is not admitting responsibility; this is being part of the solution.
If you are insured with Rapid Solutions and need guidance we are happy to talk to you about how this may be achieved.
After listening to the customer’s position then ask relevant questions to fill in any gaps, so you can decide how to respond. These include:
- How was the problem discovered?
- Have you had anyone in to look at it?
- What do you think is the solution?
- How would you like me to help? (this is not necessarily you offering to help, it is asking them what they want)
Involve your insurer
Whether you’re in pest management, building inspection, professional cleaning, methamphetamine testing, garden maintenance or another property services area, your insurer should be able to help you through the customer complaint resolution process.
Our industry experts can assist you in making sure you’re doing the right thing by your business and your customer.
We also suggest you begin with the end in mind. At Rapid Solutions an insurance claim is not automatic; we do not log every complaint as an active claim. A phone call to us will not affect your premium or mean you pay an excess. It will, however, help give perspective on the issue.
We’re happy to provide preliminary assistance, which often means you can achieve a speedy solution without any hassle.
Did you know:
- These situations may be new to you but your insurer sees them every day and (hopefully) has experience with thousands of matters;
- Your insurer can guide you about how to approach a conversation, meeting or site visit with the customer;
- They should also be able to assist with drafting letters; and,
- They can ensure you don’t do anything to create a future problem with the insurance policy.
Keep talking to your customer and improve your systems
Managing customer complaints well can improve your service. They may be identifying a flaw in your system or a way to improve so you can avoid the same complaint in the future.
Good customer service is an ongoing process, not an event. Every customer is a potential source of business for you – directly and through referral – so make the effort to maintain relationships.
Friends and family members telling other friends and family members… this is a common way for businesses to secure new clients. Protect what you’ve already worked hard to bring into the business and it will reap rewards.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. If you made a complaint and were listened to and offered an acceptable solution that was quickly implemented without fuss, what would you say about that business?