Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Customer Complaints - How to Deal With Them

Customer service quote from Bill Gates
Use customer complaints as a tool to improve your business or products/services.
Last week I published an article I wrote on how to handle customer complaints, from an operational and legal perspective. That article was so popular, I decided to follow it with another article on handling customer complaints, from a more process-oriented perspective. (Meaning, exactly what steps do you take to handle customer complaints and address the customers concerns.) I'm taking a different approach and featuring a guest post by Lyndon Miles that addresses this topic. Questions? Please ask them in the comment box below. - TCW

Customer Complaints - How to Deal With Them

Dealing with customer complaints is a vital part of any company's operation. No matter how good the company, it is always possible for something to go wrong. When something does go wrong, it is how you deal with it that will ultimately make the difference between an unhappy customer and one who is prepared to get past the problem and give your company another chance. Customer will typically give your company another chance when they have been dealt with efficiently and with courtesy.

There are five golden rules for dealing effectively with customer complaints.
  1. Identify the problem. Make sure that you understand the whole complaint and every part of the problem. Until you know all the facts, you cannot accurately know the correct way to rectify the problem.
  2. Empathize with the customer. Try to understand how he or she feels and the disappointment or annoyance that the problem has caused. Apologize for this and for the fact that he or she has been caused this inconvenience.
  3. Find out what the customer expects the resolution to be. Is your customer looking for a refund, or a simple apology? Make sure that you know what is expected before you offer the earth.
  4. Keep the customer informed. If further investigation or evidence gathering is needed, then make sure that the customer knows what you are doing and that you will be contacting him or her with the result of your findings. Placing the onus on the customer to call you back will mean that he or she may have to explain the whole situation again to another operator. Take ownership of the problem and gain the customer's confidence.
  5. Learn from mistakes. Learn from any mistakes made to ensure that you avoid the same thing  in the future. Keep records of complaints to identify if one particular part of the operation is consistently having trouble, and if so, deal with it.

Complaint resolution is the one area where companies can often find themselves in direct conflict with their customers. It is true that there will be times when the customer is not right and that will be proved during the course of an investigation into the matter. But your company must always handle the process of dealing with a complaint with courtesy. Keep in mind that your customer is unhappy, had come to the organization with expectations of what he or she would receive, and had been disappointed.

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Having an effective customer complaint procedure is vital to ensure that your company deals with all complaints in the same way. Customers talk and word soon gets out regarding discrepancies in how companies deal with complaints, if the results for customers with the same problem are handled very differently. An effective customer complaint procedure will ensure that all customer service agents work from the same set of rules and can effectively and consistently approach and complete each stage of the complaint procedure. In this way, the various stages of a customer complaint investigation are traceable and quantifiable and can be analyzed to ensure that the most efficient resolution to problem is offered to every customer.

About the Author: Lyndon Miles is a writer on business and customer service issues. If you want to learn more, then please click here for further information

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lyndon_Miles_


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