At some stage, your business is likely to receive a customer complaint. Dealing with it in a positive and constructive manner will help to keep your customers.
In general, customers who are unhappy with your product or service will not complain to you – but they will complain to others and take their business elsewhere. Managing customer complaints and resolving them quickly will result in improved business processes and repeat business.
Once you have developed a policy you can create a procedure for handling complaints. A procedure will ensure complaints are dealt with the same way, every time. The procedure should be easy to understand and follow by all your staff.
Your procedure could include the following steps.
1 – Listen to the complaint
Thank the customer for bringing the matter to your attention. Apologize and accept ownership, don’t blame others, and remain courteous.
2 – Record details of the complaint
Go through the complaint in detail so you can understand exactly what the problem is. Keep records of all complaints in one central place or register. This will help you identify any trends or issues.
3 – Get all the facts
Check that you have understood and recorded the details of the complaint correctly. Ask questions if necessary.
4 – Discuss options for fixing the problem
Ask the customer what response they are seeking; it could be a repair, replacement, refund or apology. Decide if the request is reasonable.
5 – Act quickly
Aim to resolve the complaint quickly. If you take a long time they tend to escalate.
6 – Keep your promises
Keep the customer informed if there are any delays in resolving their request. Don’t promise things that you can’t deliver.
7 – Follow up
Contact the customer to find out if they were satisfied with how their complaint was handled. Let them know what you are doing to avoid the problem in the future.
Make sure your staff is trained to follow your procedure when handling complaints and that they have the power to resolve issues as quickly as possible.
Encourage your customers to provide feedback and complaints so that they let you know when there is a problem and give you the opportunity to resolve it.