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Customers Are Businesses Best Teachers – When They Complain

When a customer complains, a business could turn upside down, but most matters can be resolved.
If you own a business and you have happy customers, good for you. You may have found the secret to keeping your customers happy. But, if your customers don’t complain, it could also mean that they want nothing to do with your business. Statistics show that 1 in 26 customers does file a complaint. The rest say nothing and probably stop dealing with you altogether.

Customer service may come from both ends of the spectrum. From serving customers before the purchase until post-sale customer service. Most businesses thrive for the customer’s satisfaction and shopping experience. But, many businesses are not hardwired to focus on the customer’s needs after the sale.

One reason might be that businesses are hesitant to listen to customers’ feedback. Customers who give feedback, are the businesses best option in improving their overall business performance. However, when customers do make a complaint, here’s a quick guide on how to handle customer complaints.
Stay Calm
First and foremost, customers who make a complaint are irritated or dissatisfied with the product or service or even the shopping experience. As a customer service representative, you would have to keep your mind open and always note that any issue raised should never be taken personally. We are humans after all and it is natural to start being defensive when the complaint becomes an attack. If it just happens to be your terrible day, take a deep, deep breath and choose to be professional to keep calm.
Listen Well
Focus on the customer, no matter the channel of the complaint. If the customer is complaining via a chatbox, stay on the chatbox as the infuriated customer is demanding to speak to a human. Let the customer vent out as much as they need. They are in an erratic state of mind and need to let go before they can calm down.

While they are lashing out, you could respond with short answers such as “I see” or “Tell me more”. As a professional, you could already identify the problem and distinguish it from the ‘personal attack’. Jot down what you think the problem is from all that lash out, and be prepared to engage with the customer.
Acknowledge Well
Acknowledging an irate customer is not necessarily agreeing to whatever they say. It is simply respecting how the customer perceives it as a big deal. Even as they are venting anger or complaining, let them know that you hear everything they’ve said. If the complaint comes from a mistake done by the company you represent, admit the mistake.

A great way to begin acknowledging the matter is by saying something like “So if I understand you correctly”, it is usually followed by the customer responding. After the customer responds, it would be nice to follow up with something like this, “So, if I understand you correctly, we were supposed to the problem by noon today. I can see how that must have been frustrating for you.” Be quiet and let the customer respond. By now, the customer should’ve calmed down.
Get The Facts Right
During the lash out, you may have jotted down points or problems raised. But to ensure both of you are on the same page, initiate the conversation with the customer AFTER he or she has calmed down. Begin asking questions and avoid scripted questions.

The scripted questions are there as a guideline for you to use the keywords to ask genuine questions. If you are on the phone, you need to sound genuine with your conversations to build rapport and trust with the customer.
Offer A Solution
AFTER you have sufficient details, you may offer a solution. But, do check with the company on what you can or cannot do. A customer is hoping for the best solution as well as accountability. As a customer service representative for a respected company, being accountable takes the cake and some customers can be satisfied with just that. However, most customers demand a definitive solution and a promise that the matter can be resolved.
From A Dissatisfied to a Satisfied Customer
Turning a dissatisfied customer into a satisfied customer may take some interpersonal skills. As the saying goes, a customer is always right. But, only to a certain extent. When you do resolve customer complaints successfully, it may serve several purposes. One, you have a better understanding of your customers’ needs. Two, you can retain a loyal customer. Three, it has helped enhance overall business performance and lastly, you may have developed a soft skill you never knew you had.
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