Don’t think of dealing with customer complaints as just a nasty chore. Handle them well and you can turn an unhappy client into a partner who helps you find a solution to the problem. Advice from respondents to our Best Practices Poll, of whom 63% said their company is effective at handling customer complaints, included:
- “Rather than spending the bulk of the time trying to prove the customer is at fault, take ownership of the problem as if you were the customer,” says D. Jennings. “Include them in the communications regarding the problem to assure them you are actively assisting them. Where required, bring the problem to higher-level management. There is nothing more infuriating than a low-level support person sloughing off a complaint with excuses and hiding behind policy.”
- “Calm the complainant down,” says Ken. “Get to the bottom of the complaint. What does he want you to do? It usually has nothing to do with the emotional ranting and raving—he just wants to be heard. Listen. Then suggest probable solutions. You remain friends trying to solve the problem rather than engaging in laying blame.”
- “Our company prides itself on its strong focus on customer service and relationship building,” says Sandra Di Censo, manager of corporate projects at Penson Financial Services Canada. “All of our departments abide by the following key service principles:
- Partner with the client. Understand what their issue is, and anticipate the steps to be taken to solve the problem.
- Be responsive by ensuring quick turnaround times, optimal solutions to present to the client and constant communication with them.
- Respect where they are coming from.
- Exceed service expectations. Clients don’t want to hear the textbook phrases when they have an issue. They want to relay the problem to someone and have it fixed.
Abiding by the principles above is sure to leave the once-angry client satisfied and content that they are doing business with us.”
For her answer, Sandra Di Censo will receive a copy of Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and RenÃ©e Mauborgen.
Watch for another Best Practices Poll in the next PROFIT-Xtra.