“Mistakes are inevitable. Dissatisfied customers are not” Richard Branson
You should welcome positive and negative feedback from customers as it will help you to improve your services and customer care.
In most cases, businesses would rather the customer complain directly to them and give them a chance to put things right, rather than complain to their friends and family.
It is possible to turn a negative into a positive. How you deal with a customer complaint can impress the customer, whether or not they get the outcome they originally expected.
The following tips will help you deal with complaints more effectively:
- Listen to the whole complaint and try not to interrupt. This will demonstrate that you care and will also give you valuable clues about how the problem originated and what the customer expects as a resolution
- Don’t leap to the defence of your business/organisation, keep an open mind throughout
- Thank the customer for bringing the problem or query to your attention
- Show that you understand the complaint by repeating the key points
- Show concern – it is okay to use phrases like “I’m sorry” or “I understand”. This is not an admission of liability, it simply lets the customer know that you care and are there to help
- Work with the customer towards a solution and wherever possible, offer choices
- If it is not possible to offer an immediate solution, explain what needs to happen next and provide a timescale
- Follow this up – do what you promised to do!
- Check to make sure that the desired outcome happened if the complaint has been passed to someone else
- If appropriate, report the problem (and solution) at a senior management level as it may help to avoid the same situation happening again.
Sometimes “sorry” is enough
According to a survey conducted by the British Standards Institute in May 2007:
More than a third of consumers would stay loyal to a firm if it apologised following a customer service failure
However, in cases of poor customer service, one in three was not offered an apology
Overall, 76 per cent of consumers said they had taken their business to a competitor as a result.
What the law says
Click here for advice for retailers. This section explains the law that protects consumers when buying goods and services and offers advice on subjects such as credit notes, guarantees and faulty goods.