Dealing with Customer Complaints
91 per cent of customers who are unhappy with a service or product will just stop supporting the brand without complaining. However, the other 9 per cent are not so passive. Some customers may have a reason to complain and will bring it to your attention as soon as they possibly can. Customer complaints need to be dealt with professionally and with a fair amount of support.
The HOMEMAKERS Way
HOMEMAKERS has been around for almost 40 years. We can say we have had our fair share of complaints. HOMEMAKERS CEO, Reuben Louw, refers to his golden rule when it comes to complaining customers.
The first step is to get back to people as soon as possible. A recent survey shows that 79 per cent of consumers who shared complaints about poor customer experience online had their complaints ignored. That is a lot of ignoring and totally unacceptable. Once you get back to the customer, make sure to THANK them for bringing the issue to your attention. You then need to find a solution for the customer and that you will get back to them TOMORROW. Customers will hold you to your word, don’t get back to them when you say you would, and you make the problem worse.
Get a meeting with the employees involved and get feedback before you contact the customer again. Reuben believes that you should check in with the customer every day until their problem has been resolved.
We look at this golden rule in detail.
Follow Up ASAP
Complaining customers do not want to wait. They expect answers quickly and usually from higher management. It is a good idea to have upper management follow up with these customers 24 hours after they have expressed their complaint. This shows customers that you genuinely care, and suggests you take their complaints and concerns seriously.
Say Thank You
Forbes cements this important element in dealing with customer complaints. Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle writes, “The old saying “kill them with kindness” could not be truer in a situation with a customer complaining. But rather than smile and pretend to care, genuinely let them know you are thankful they are sharing with you their complaint or concern”.
Talk to the team or team member who dealt with the unhappy customer. Getting all the feedback from your team will help you make an informed decision when trying to assist the customer with their complaint. It is also vital to hear both sides of the story. Either way, if one of your employees is to blame for the complaint, make it clear that you will remain neutral and supportive to all the parties involved.
If the complaint takes time to be resolved, continue to check in with the customer daily. Once you reach a solution, make a record of it so that the teams involved know how to deal with a similar complaint in the future.
During the “resolving period”, you must be clear about what you can and cannot do within your company’s guidelines. Do not make a promise you cannot keep. Remember, when offering a solution, be courteous and respectful.