5 Tips for Dealing with Customer Complaints

We’ve all heard, “The customer is always right.” No matter the situation, more companies are placing emphasis on customer service and handling customer complaints.  According to “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner, it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one negative experience.

Hand picking a happy star rating, concept for customer satisfaction and feedback.

How your company handles customer complaints is critical to your customer rating.  So, how do you empower your team to put the customer first?

1. Acknowledge the Problem — The sooner you recognize there is a breakdown in service, the sooner you can make changes to ensure customer satisfaction. United Airlines CEO, Oscar Munoz, acknowledged that his company wasn’t exactly giving the best customer service. So, what did he do? He empowered his team to handle customer complaints by allowing employees to compensate for poor service with vouchers for future flights—on the spot.

2. Listen to Understand — First and foremost, smile, listen and try to help.  Many people listen to respond.  Teach your team to listen to understand.  Customers ask for help when they are unsure of what to do next. They are already feeling vulnerable and possibly agitated at that moment. Sometimes customers just want to know that someone heard their concerns.  Empathizing with them and offering to do your best will be music to their ears.

3. Try thanking them first — Typically, in the customer service world, the workers are the ones being thanked for how helpful they were. Instead, turn the tables. Let the customer explain what they need, and start off by thanking them for being a customer, or for bringing this issue to your attention as it will help to make better customer experiences in the future.  Customers want to be appreciated, so thank them.

4. Be respectful with your words and your body language — People pick up on negative body language very quickly, which makes their guard go up. Never talk to a customer with your arms crossed. Always make eye contact when speaking and stand several feet away from them to give them their personal space. Once you approach the situation with an open mind and open arms, the conversation will go much smoother, and you have the potential to have a very happy customer.

5. Build Resolve — There are days where it may feel like the customer isn’t right. When dealing with a difficult customer, keep calm and avoid possessive language like you or yours. When a customer is already disgruntled, it can appear difficult to turn the situation around. But it can.  Follow the steps of listening, empathizing, thanking them and communicating openly.

Businesses need to identify areas of improvement for staff and address those issues with training. Viewing customer service as the backbone of your organization is a surefire way to keep your employees, customers, and company headed in the right direction. And remember, it is important to make certain all your employees are adequately trained and prepared to address issues that may arise.  Help them prepare with KnowledgeCity’s course: Handling Customer Complaints.

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