There’s an old saying that goes, “You can’t please everyone.” However, when it comes to customer complaints, this is often one time you should try to set things right. Not only that, but a customer complaint can be an excellent way to make your product or service better next time. While the truth is that the customer may not always be right, a customer issue is almost always a chance to improve your business.

What can you learn from an unhappy customer, and how should you handle the situation?

Assess the “weight” of the complaint

From the very beginning, try to weigh the severity of the issue. While it is important to listen to all customer complaints, acknowledge that some customers will never truly be satisfied. Listen to any complaints, apologize, and do your best to rectify a customer’s problem, but understand that some customers may be experiencing greater issues than others.

This means that you’ll have to prioritize and determine the weight of each complaint you receive before you make a decision as to how to proceed.

Start a dialogue with the customer

We are all familiar with the idea of constructive criticism, but we generally think of it in the context of advice from a mentor or other higher up, rather than customers.

Can complaints be constructive? Yes. Consumer criticism is an excellent source of ideas to improve a product. Instead of shying away from consumer complaints or getting defensive, respond personally to the customer and ask them to help you make the product better.

Not only will this help you potentially make improvements to your products or services, it can create an open dialogue with your customers and strengthen the relationship.

Answer personally, but don’t take it personally

Don’t take it to heart. Addressing a customer’s concerns in a personalized manner doesn’t have to mean taking all criticism too personally. Do your best to fix a customer issue without letting their unhappiness get to you personally. While this is easier said than done, dealing with the situation in a professional manner and not taking the criticism personally may enable you to turn the situation around—and potentially win back an unhappy customer.

Use a complaint as an opportunity to gain a lifelong customer

Sometimes, fixing an issue for a customer can turn them into your biggest advocate. While it may cause you a minor inconvenience upfront, oftentimes you’ll be rewarded with a loyal fan. Should an issue within your business arises, you must go above and beyond to not only rectify the situation, but to convert that person to a lifelong customer.

Keep a record of your complaints

Your customer complaints should teach you something. While it’s great to fix an issue when it arises, if the same issue continues to pop up, this may be symptomatic of a larger problem. How can you handle an issue that keeps reoccurring? First of all, record all complaints; this way, you’ll be able to spot trends. It’s important to keep detailed records of these complaints to help you improve your product or service. You will want to be able to look back and identify consistent complaints that need to be resolved.

Secondly, once a reoccurring issue has been spotted, work on fixing it, or potentially adapting the way you frame your product or service to clients. Either fix what’s wrong with your product or service, or do a better job of explaining it so customers have realistic expectations.

Listen without bias

It can be tempting to fight back against a critical attack; after all, you probably think your product or service works wonderfully.

It’s natural to feel a bit hurt, but try not to let your bias affect how you respond to a customer. However, if you can set your personal biases aside momentarily, you will be able to get a better understanding of your customer’s position. Once the facts are laid out, you will understand how and why your customer has issues with your product or service and be able to respond effectively. Feedback is a great way to understand a different point of view.

Impress them

Showing your customers how committed you are to ensuring their happiness with your product or service can leave a lasting impression. Not only will your customer’s issue be resolved, they will walk away thinking about how you went above and beyond to fix their bad experience—which will surely impress them.

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 6:21:38 AM and is filed under Small-Medium Business.

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