Every company has to face management of complaints. Of course, having to respond to a dissatisfied customer is not the easiest part of customer service. Yet by applying certain strategies, you will avoid the worst and even succeed in maintaining a good relationship with your customers. To talk to us about it, who could be better placed than Roger St-Hilaire? Since 1972, this renwoned expert is indeed the benchmark in the field of strategic sales training, sales management and customer service (www.rogersthilaire.com).
First of all, “every customer service representative must have in mind that one person with a complaint means there are 26 others who did not bother to complain,” comments Roger St-Hilaire. In other words, nothing is to say that those who did not contact you will not go onto social media to express their frustration, damaging your company’s reputation. Every complaint must therefore be taken seriously and handled with professionalism and respect. Always avoid at all costs being on the defencive and raising your voice. Otherwise, it will be the beginning of hostilities and the sure loss of the customer.
1. Listen and rephrase
“Often, people with a complaint simply need to get it off their chest,” he adds. “By listening to them, you show that you are taking their problem seriously and seeking to understand it.” Don’t hesitate to rephrase the customer’s complaint in your own words, to let him know that you have understood it correctly. On his part, he may realize that he was exaggerating when he hears you.
Give preference to phrases such as “I understand” or “I’m here to help you” rather than “I agree”. By showing empathy, the complainer will explain the reason for their frustration and often say himself that he knows you are not responsible for the problem.
2. Thank him
Even though it may seem strange to you at first, once he has gotten it off his chest, thank the person for having taken the trouble to report a problem. This attitude is often enough to pacify and calm the situation. According to our expert, it is essential to avoid at all costs saying that you are not responsible or throwing the blame on someone else.
3. Find a solution
Try to find a solution by asking the question, “What can I do to satisfy you?” Customers are often ready to accept less than what we would be willing to give them. All they want is to be heard. If the person demands something you are not able to provide, do not explain the reason for your refusal. It will never be considered acceptable by the complainer. Talk about long delays. For example, “I’m sorry, I am here for you, but unfortunately we can only deliver on…”
Offer a partial or full refund. Sometimes it’s better to lose a transaction but keep the customer.
4. Follow up
Don’t think that because your customer made a complaint that you will necessarily lose them. If you handle the complaint with care, your relationship will not be harmed. It could even come out improved. A few days after receiving the complaint, follow up briefly with the customer. Ask if everything is okay. He will appreciate the attention.
5. Be positive
Always try to take advantage of the opportunity to improve certain things in your business. Roger St-Hilaire emphasizes that, “a complaint must make us aware of things that we had not seen or ignored.” And to conclude, “If you have a positive attitude it will be evident in your tone of voice.”