Problems will happen in any business, but it is how you respond to problems that will determine your company’s reputation. Being prepared with a plan of how to handle customer concerns and complaints can help ensure that everyone in your organization is on the same page with your company’s approach to customer satisfaction and how to deal with customer problems.
Below, I have covered elements that you should make sure are a part of your company’s approach to dealing with customer problems.
- Keep a level head
Stay calm whenever you’re presented with an unhappy customer. It is easy to take things personally when they’re unhappy with your work product or service, but remember that this isn’t an attack on you personally. Getting upset will only further escalate the situation, because the customer will feed off of your energy. Let them vent and blow off some steam and remember that it isn’t about you.
- Listen to understand
Listen carefully to what the customer is saying. Don’t cut them off and don’t spend the entire time you’re listening thinking about your response. Let the customer express their frustrations and listen to them to make sure you fully understand the situation. To ensure that you heard the problem, use active listening techniques. Restate what you believe the issue is to them so that they know that you heard them and understand what they’re saying. This would sound like “I can understand how frustrating it must be to have to email us multiple times to get a response.”
- Offer and execute a solution
Understanding the problem also helps you to be able to offer them a workable solution that addresses their underlying concerns. Let them know what you can do to address their concerns and how you plan on making sure that this doesn’t happen again. Also be clear about what you cannot do. If you aren’t able to fix certain parts of their problem be transparent but let them know that you can still share or pass along the customer’s concerns. For example, if a customer isn’t happy with a product and wants a new one but you don’t have that new one in stock you can let them know that you will do everything you can to get an exact replacement but that may not be possible and ask what they would like to be done if that isn’t possible – would they like a similar product, a refund or that exact item when it comes back in stock?
Close the loop with the customer after the solution has been implemented. Reach back out to the customer and verify that they are happy and that you have addressed their concern. Taking this extra step to connect with the customer to make sure that they’re satisfied with the solution shows that you genuinely care about them and can create a long-term relationship with that customer.