Turning a complaint into a WOW

By: kevinjames@oculustraining.com | On: September 25, 2016 | In: Complaints, handling complaints, Power to Please, No Comments

When you get a complaint from a customer, how do you react? Do you cringe, blame yourself, get defensive, or do you face it bravely, acknowledge the mistake, try to resolve the issue and appease the customer?

We all know the logical answer to this question, but you’ll be amazed how many companies don’t handle the situation correctly!

It’s pretty obvious that complaints need to be handled in a timely manner. Why? With today’s social media reach, a customer’s story of their bad experience with you can go viral in a few simple clicks. Do you remember when an airline broke a musician’s guitar and refused to compensate him? He posted a complaint on youtube and received 12.5 million views. Everyone knew the story! Don’t get this happen to your business!

So how do you get your team prepared to handle complaints? First of all, don’t get angry with them if they make a mistake. We are all human, and nobody’s perfect, not even you! But they do need to be accountable, help them understand what they did wrong, and teach them how to come up with solutions and solve problems quickly.

Next, teach them to be calm while handling a complaint. It is human nature to get defensive when someone points out something wrong or something they are not happy about. We tend to react as if the customer is unhappy with us personally when they really aren’t. It’s important to hear their side of the story, instead of arguing with them.

Give your staff the power to fix mistakes and provide a solution on the spot. An unhappy customer doesn’t like to hear “Let me ask my Manager and get back to you.” They are already upset, and chances are they want an answer quickly and don’t want to wait. Obviously, you need to set guidelines on what your staff is able to offer – don’t let them give away the farm! But if they are empowered to make decisions, they will feel important in their role too, and feel like they can make a difference in the success of the organization.

One of the most common ways to resolve a complaint is to offer compensation. As the saying goes – money talks. If the complaint is a result of a faulty product, poor service, or any mistake made by your organization, you should provide compensation to your customer. Sometimes, even if you know it wasn’t entire your fault, or if the situation was beyond your control, you might have still to compensate your customer as a goodwill gesture. Offer a refund, a voucher for a future purchase or waive service fees. A dollar out is many dollars in – show your customer you genuine want to make it up to them, and they will return to spend their future dollars with you.

Most customers are reasonable people. If you show that you genuine care about their happiness and appreciate their business, you leave a lasting impression. Happy customers mean repeat customers and referrals, so wow them with your best practices!

As featured in Training Magazine, June 2016

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