What do you do if a customer complains about something they've bought from you, or has a complaint about a service you've provided for them?
There's a lot of information on the internet for customers and how to make an effective complaint, but there's not much out there to help you (as a supplier) deal with customer complaints! That's where iHASCO's new programme comes in… We have recently released our Customer Service Training which is an essential piece of training for anyone that works in a customer-centric role. This course focuses on what good customer service is, how to effectively communicate with a customer, handling customer complaints and how both you and your employer might try to continually build on past successes and learn from mistakes.
So, how can we best handle a complaint?
It is important to understand that each customer is unique which makes each one of their complaints differ. Our Course aims to teach people how to handle complaints in a professional, empathetic & understanding way and how to handle someone’s emotions when they get out of hand. You should always encourage customer complaints as they can be learnt from and changed for future situations if a customer doesn’t say anything they might go away from the complaint still unhappy. Remember, it has been found that one happy customer can lead to nine (positive) referrals, but just one dissatisfied customer can lead to sixteen ‘anti-referrals’.
There are 3 ways to efficiently handle a customer’s complaint:
Understand a customer’s problem
A customer wants a solution to their problem and they want it to be sorted quickly. You should try and get as much information as possible through short and simple questions. You should use open-ended questions to get a better idea of what has happened. But, they don't want to be confused or asked too many questions as they may possibly already be frustrated, so using closed questions to find out specific details is useful to get to the root of the problem.
You should always try to understand how the customer is feeling and why they are experiencing the upset or anger they might feel. Make sure that they know why the questions are being asked and how they will help to solve their problem, this might help them understand why you are asking them this.
Handle the complaint
This can be broken down into 3 easy steps.
Step 1 - Thank the customer. Thank them for bringing the situation to your attention and it will show that you have taken their complaint on board.
Step 2 - Apologise. Even if you don’t agree with them, an apology can go a long way. Sometimes, customers simply want an apology for what has happened and they will be satisfied once they get one. As well as this you are also able to empathise with what has happened to them and gives you an understanding of the problem.
Step 3 - Find a solution to the problem. You should always to try to solve the problem first but failing that you may be able to offer some kind of compensation. You could ask the customer what they wanted from their complaint because they will often know what they want from the phone call.
You won’t be able to solve all of the complaints but following these 3 steps will show the customer that you are trying to. Following these 3 steps will hopefully mean the customer feels like their complaint has been heard, an apology has been issued and that it has tried to be solved.
Dealing with abuse
Unfortunately, some customers approach you with a complaint already angry and upset, this can sometimes result in abusive behaviour. You should try to remain calm throughout and not retaliate or argue back. You may find that a customer is too upset or angry for the 3 step rule to work so if you feel threatened then you should try to end the conversation and if you are not able to, you may need to escalate it further by involving your manager.
Customer complaints can be a chance to learn from them and develop things so that they don’t happen again in the future. By showing a customer you are taking what they’re saying on board and apologising for it, they will feel like you are taking it seriously.
If you think that your staff could benefit from Customer Service Training and would like to learn more about how you can improve customer service skills as an organisation, whilst providing the best possible experiences for customers, then why not get started with a free trial today?