7 Tips for Managing Customer Complaints

Thursday 8 October 2009, 2:55PM

No matter how good you are, when selling either a service or a product, you are bound to get hit with some complaints. Managing customer complaints intelligently, efficiently, promptly, and pleasantly can turn a possible catastrophe into a solidly loyal customer. Here are a few tips to help you do that:

=> Never take it personally when a customer yells at you for something you both know is not your fault. He is frustrated, disappointed, and angry. If you don’t take it personally, you can control your own attitude, and that will ease the situation.

=> Don’t ignore complaints, even when they are indirect and non-confrontational. When there is basis to them, it shows you a flaw in your business, shipping, or product that you may have been unaware of. When this is the case, acknowledge such to your customer.

=> Keep track of complaints and review them on a regular basis. A standard form is a good idea, and everything that happens, including follow-up should be written down and dated.

=> Deal the same way with phone complaints, emails, letters, and face-to-face confrontations. They are all important clues to how your business is doing.

=> If a customer receives a product that is not working, you will make him much happier if he can bring it right to you and exchange it. If a new one has to be ordered, then place the order immediately, and don’t wait for him to ship it back. You will have made a friend when he gets it back just days after he has returned it!

=> Always try to offer something to a dissatisfied customer (if there is any basis to his complaint). Refunds, a discount on a different model, getting it fixed, or replacing it, will renew his trust in your business.

When nothing you do calms your customer, ask him what he would do in your shoes. Does he have a better solution? Then explain why that would/would not be feasible, or modify it to a point where both you and he feel it is fair. Thanking him for his input, will make him feel important and you will win kudos.

Always remember that you don’t have a business if you cannot keep your customers. They may not always be right, but they are always entitled to courteous treatment, whether asking a question, making or returning something, or dealing with a complaint.