How to Deal With Customer Complaints

If you’re in business, you have most likely received a disgruntled customer complaining about your product or service. Here's how to deal with it.

It is predictable that if you’re in business, you have most likely received a disgruntled customer complaining about your product or service. Unfortunately, there is a saying that an unhappy customer tells on average 20 people about their poor experience. With regards to social media, an online complaint can reach hundreds, or even thousands in an instant.

There is nothing worse than receiving a customer complaint, particularly when you are trying your hardest to keep everyone happy. However I believe that understanding why customers complain, and having a plan to deal with it, will help you see the negative in a more positive light.

Why do people stop doing business with you?

Research has shown in the past that 86% of consumers will stop doing business with a company because of a poor customer experience. This can tell us the importance of personal interaction with our customers, and proves we don’t just lose them based on the fact they have found your product at a cheaper price. Interestingly, our customer’s human behaviours are driven by our need to feel important, worthy, and significant.

If a customer feels that you haven’t made them feel important when interacting with them, it is vital to not add insult to injury by defending yourself and making them feel worse. Not responding will make matters even worse. You need to remember to always respect the customer’s opinion, and validate them on why they feel that way.

So now, how to deal with a customer complaint…

  1. Always thank them for their feedback.
    For example, “Thanks for taking the time to give us feedback on your experience to help us improve our customer service.”
  2. Apologise without attributing blame.
    For instance, “We apologise that in this instance your experience did not meet your expectations.”
  3. Offer to compensate.
    Example: “We are happy to compensate you by refunding your investment in full.” or…
  4. Provide contact details for further discussion.
    “Your feedback is valuable to us. We invite you to provide further comment to help us improve. Please contact our General Manager (name) on (number) at any time.”

As a business coach, I have learnt that a customer complaint is really doing your business a favour; given this you should always express gratitude. Make your customer feel important and treat them with respect. Your business will be better for it.

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