6 Step guide to handling customer complaints

Tip for handling customer complaints

Every business has to deal with dissatisfied customers at some point so we’ve got an easy process for handling customer complaints that will boost customer satisfaction and increase customer loyalty.

Customer complaints can arise from a number of different situations and no business that I’ve come across is immune to things going wrong.

The best businesses have strategies in place for dealing with customer complaints and turn dissatisfied customers into not only satisfied customers but also advocates for their business.

And getting the customer experience right has never been more important with customer experience now the new battlefield to win and retain customers.

A recent survey of Australian consumers found when asked what they would do if they experienced poor customer service:

  • 58% would never use that company again
  • 58% would tell their friends and colleagues
  • 16% would post something online
  • 16% would use social media
  • Only 3% would do nothing

(Source: NewVoiceMedia)

It is critical that every business has a strategy in place for dealing with customer complaints and ensure they are handled effectively and customer satisfaction is restored before it does any irreparable damage.

The 6 step guide to handling customer complaints:

1. Listen

The customer is concerned and they want to express it. Let them explain their issue to you and listen so that you understand completely.

If you don’t understand the problem you cannot effectively solve it.

2. Empathise

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes.

Empathise with their situation and ask questions to gather any additional information you need to be able to offer a suitable solution.

3. Thank the customer for the opportunity

The customer could have walked away and spread their negative experience, instead they’re giving you the opportunity to turn them into a satisfied customer.

Thank them for that opportunity.



4. Solve the problem

Work with the customer to negotiate a solution to their issue.

By involving the customer in shaping the solution they will be much more accepting of it.

5. Deliver on your promise

Once you and the customer have agreed upon a solution, make sure it is delivered, and delivered in the shortest timeframe possible.

If you don’t deliver swiftly you will undo all the good work you have done thus far.

6. Follow up

Set a mechanism to prompt a follow up with the customer within an appropriate timeframe to ensure that the customer is satisfied with the outcome and there is no lingering issue.

By crafting a customer complaints strategy for dealing with customer complaints around these 6 steps you will effectively deal with customer issues resulting in higher customer loyalty, increased customer revenue and improved profits.

As Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

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