Handling Customer Complaints

All businesses have to deal with situations in which things go wrong from a customer's point of view. Careful complaint management can save businesses unwanted costs. For example, negative word-of-mouth-publicity from dissatisfied customers means lost revenue and requires an investment in advertising to attract replacement customers. Note also that complaints and complaint trends tell businesses how to do their job better by alerting management to problems that need prompt attention and correction.
What do you do? Follow a check-list on how you can deal with the customer complaints and turn an unhappy customer into a satisfied one.
·         Pay attention and listen without interrupting
·         Stay calm, maintaining an open, receptive and positive body language
·         Allow the customer to let off some steam
·         React with concern for the customer’s situation
·         Do not jump into conclusions
·         Briefly apologize for the inconvenience caused
·         Ask questions to understand the situation (What, Where, When, Why, How)
·         Understand the customer’s expectations by asking if she/he has a preference in how it is solved
·         Investigate the situation
·         Apologize where you have gone wrong
·         Explore alternative solutions
·         Give choices, where possible
·         Agree on course of action with the customer
·         Consider a gesture of goodwill (i.e. a gift)
·         Confirm next steps of action
·         Invite the customer’s feedback about the solution and the way in which the complaint was resolved
·         Thank the customer for taking the time and trouble of bringing the problem to your notice
·         Discuss with your team to learn from this experience
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